Ed Maltby reports from the Isle of Wight: Arriving from London at 4am on 22 September, I went to bed in one of the tents at the marine gate of the Newport factory. There were about a dozen people there, including some workers.
Two hours later, at 6am, we were woken up – and the few who were awake, on watch, were surprised – by the sound of 120 booted police officers’ feet. The police quickly had control of the area.
They told us that the Isle of Wight Council had removed the public right of way on the cycle path which runs between the factory’s marine gate and the jetty, and so we were “trespassing” on council land with a view to stopping Vestas from carrying out their lawful business. If we continued to do so, we would be committing the criminal offence of “aggravated trespass”.
Citing the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, they told us to leave the area immediately. We didn’t have much choice about that. The police have allowed us to collect most of our stuff from the marine gate area, though some of our stuff has been taken away as “evidence”.
The police have also given a map to all of us, showing an area which, they say, we are now not allowed into for three months.
We have came to the roundabout at the factory’s front gate. Together with the people who were already at the roundabout and other workers and local people who have arrived since 6am, we have about 20 or 25 of us at the roundabout.
Police have blocked the path along the riverbank to seal off the area around the jetty, and we are told that it will be blocked for two days.
The cycle path which runs immediately past the marine gate is open and being used, but there are lots of police on it, and people are being told that they can use it to travel in one direction only.
There are more police, and Vestas security people, on the jetty. There are also police vans at the roundabout, and police camera-people taking photos of us.
We understand that the barges which carry blades for Vestas have left Southampton, where they are usually docked, and we assume they are on their way to collect the blades. We’re discussing what we may be able to do now to stage some final protest against the blades being moved.
Click here for the aggravated trespass law.
Some press coverage of the camp clearance:
Isle of Wight Country Press here [the picture with this report conveys the idea that the roundabout camp has been cleared; that is not true – it is the camp at the marine gate that has been cleared – the roundabout camp is still up and functioning – come for supper!]