Green party request re Big Green Gathering

Tony Gosling tony at
Tue Jul 28 22:41:55 BST 2009

>See below regarding closing down by Mendip Council of the Big Green Gathering.
>Please write phone email complaints to
>    * 01749 648999
>    * Mendip District Council, Cannards Grave Road, Shepton Mallet, 
> Somerset BA4 5B
>Please take the time to read the reports below and make your 
>feelings know to the Council and your MP.
>While we are on the subject of supporting direct action I hope you 
>have all sent messages of support to the Vestas workers - 
>email: savevestas at googlemailcom
><mailto:infolist at>infolist at
>>Big Green Gathering Shut Down
>>"It's political" Chief Superintendent tells BGG Director
>>Chief Superintendent Paul Richards admitted to a Big Green 
>>Gathering Director that the decision to shut down the Big Green 
>>Gathering was political and confirmed to the Chair of the Big Green 
>>Gathering that orders had come from the highest level.
>>During a meeting today between the police and directors of the Big 
>>Green Gathering, the superintendent said the decision to shut down 
>>the BGG was taken over a week ago, confirming the statement from 
>>the BGG lawyer that the 'injunction was a red herring.'
>>Directors from the BGG are horrified at this partisan 
>>interpretation of licencing law.  Big Green Gathering Chair Brig 
>>Oubridge said, "At the multi-agency meeting on Thursday 23rd July, 
>>we were still negotiating with the police and the council under the 
>>genuine belief that things were progressing and we were continuing 
>>to spend money on infrastructure, wages and security.  If they knew 
>>they were going to cancel the event, we can only conclude that this 
>>drive to increase expenditure appears to be a deliberate attempt to 
>>bankrupt the Big Green Gathering.
>>The injunction served on the Big Green Gathering was primarily 
>>addressing the fact that the Big Green Gathering did not obtain the 
>>necessary road closure despite the fact that the Highways Agency 
>>had previously indicated that this would be done.
>>The Big Green Gathering has been running an event since 1994 and 
>>never before has public safety been an issue.  The BGG has an 
>>exemplary record on health and safety and crime levels have always 
>>been low for the number of people on site.
>>Despite the concerns over the behaviour of the Council and the 
>>Police, event organisers will work with them to ensure the safety 
>>of those at the premises and ensure that they leave the land in an 
>>orderly fashion.  Brig concluded, "We are very aware of our 
>>responsibilities to those already on the site and very sad for all 
>>those who were coming to enjoy one of the most peaceful festivals in the UK."
>>Big Green Gathering festival cancelled at last minute
>>Ticket buyers told to stay away after council's safety concerns 
>>lead to festival
>>surrendering licence for Mendips event
>>Mark Tran
>> <<>>
>>Sunday 26 July 2009 19.51 BST
>>The organisers of Britain's biggest green festival have been forced to
>>cancel the event just days before it was due to start because of a
>>failure to resolve safety problems with police.
>>The Big Green Gathering was expecting 15,000-20,000 people to turn up
>>for the event, held in the Mendip hills, Somerset, but organisers have
>>now told ticket buyers to stay away.
>>"The event will now not take place and the directors' advice and
>>request is that no one intending to attend the event should attempt to
>>do so, as the site is now closed and they are likely to be turned away
>>by Somerset police," the Big Green Gathering website said.
>>The five-day event, near Cheddar, was described by the festival
>>directors as the "world's premier and award-winning green festival".
>>It was due to open on Wednesday. The organisers said they had no
>>choice but to voluntarily surrender the licence for this year,
>>following legal moves by Mendip district council supported by Somerset
>>and Avon police.
>>"It is our intention to avoid any form of confrontation or public
>>disorder in regard to this and it is our earnest hope that all those
>>involved will follow this advice," the directors said. "It is with
>>great sadness that we have been forced into this position and we
>>express our profound apologies to all those concerned.
>>The local authorities said they were concerned about whether proper
>>traffic management and signs would be in place before the event
>>Donna Nolan, of the council's legal team, said: "The implications of
>>the issues raised meant that the council and police had significant
>>concerns about the safety of the public attending the event as well as
>>those living, working and visiting the local area."
>>Mendip council's application to the high court in London for an
>>injunction to stop the festival was due to be heard tomorrow despite
>>the council granting a licence at the end of June.
>>The Big Green Gathering grew out of the original Green Gatherings of
>>the 1980s and the Green Fields section of the Glastonbury music
>>festival. The first event took place at Watchfield, south Oxfordshire,
>>in July 1994, and was attended by about 1,600 people. In 1995 the
>>event moved to Lower Pertwood farm on the Wiltshire downs, one of
>>Britain's largest and most successful organic farms. By 1998 it was
>>attracting more than 7,000 visitors and participants.
>>In 2006 the event for the first time came under the provisions of the
>>new Licensing Act 2005, which required the organisers to get a licence
>>from the district council. This entailed compliance with the Security
>>Industry Act, that requires all security staff to be individually
>>licensed. The festival costs rose substantially, though the organisers
>>declared the event a huge success, with close to 20,000 people
>>enjoying what many said was the best Big Green Gathering ever.
>>On 27 Jul 2009, at 17:27, paula black wrote:
>>>Dear All,
>>>It seems that the political battle lines are being drawn, and that 
>>>the event that has inspired many to achieve a green change has 
>>>been cancelled purely for political reasons.  Now we certainly 
>>>know who our enemies are,  The POLICE and TORYS,  and how they are 
>>>scared of us meeting up and having a few beers.   What must be 
>>>remembered is that environmentalists are clever, witty and full of 
>>>fun. Anyone who has attended this festival knows that it is one 
>>>that inspires us all to create a change in our lives, most 
>>>workshops are about setting up permaculture, organic growing, 
>>>sustainable housing, co-operative living  . . .  with many small 
>>>businesses involved in green solutions able to enact with their 
>>>natural customers, if this is not fascism I am unsure what it is, 
>>>I feel that from my sick bed we should do something to note our 
>>>anger and the hypocrisy of claiming public safety issues, surely 
>>>campagning for a GREEN world is one purely about public safety and 
>>>other species.  I feel the least we should do is write and 
>>>phone  Mendip District Council
>>>    * 01749 648999
>>>    * Mendip District Council, Cannards Grave Road, Shepton 
>>> Mallet, Somerset BA4 5B
>>>    * I have lodged my complaint as a county councillor and the 
>>> effect its cancellation will have on Devon businesses who were attending
>>>    * If anyone has some more ideas please add, for how can we 
>>> enact the change we need if we are being silenced.
>>>PS steve is packing his camping stuff, apparently they have nice 
>>>lawn outside the district offices in Shepton Mallet ! A car might be going !!!
>>>01803 868261

"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which 
alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
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