Slow Crossing action in Bere Lane

Glastonbury Oracle, December 2018

slow crossing action

“It has come to this! After years of pleading, reasoning and offering alternatives, we have no choice left but to take direct action to highlight the struggle that residents put up with night and day.”

So said a leaflet addressed to lorry drivers coming through Glastonbury on the A361, as a group of residents stepped out onto the zebra crossing in Bere Lane – and kept walking, backwards and forwards, as a line of HGVs quickly backed up as far as Fishers Hill.

“Please forgive us for our action, which must be very annoying to you as it interferes with your work. We have no issue with you, but with national and local government and with your bosses, who have sent you to drive through our town which is unfit for your Heavy Goods Vehicle.”

The protest lasted only 15 minutes, and where possible cars were allowed to pass. The event was good humoured and HGV drivers seemed philosophical about the situation – almost as if they’d been told to expect that something like this would happen at some time.

“Pollution, noise, danger crossing the road, and the extra height, width and weight of modern lorries, shakes up our roads, drains, homes, nerves and bones. It badly affects health, sleep, infrastructure and business, and ruins access to the sacred sites at the Tor, White Spring and Chalice Well.”

This was the beginning. The intention is to repeat such actions, at different times of the day and on different days of the week, as a first step towards reclaiming our roads and our community for ourselves. Visitors to Chilkwell Street and Bere Lane are shocked at the noise and vibration that they experience. Those who live here have decided that they can no longer passively put up with it whilst the traffic just gets worse.

“We are here today not to annoy you but to slow the traffic, raise awareness and send a message to the haulage companies, and to local and national government, that we will continue direct action until freight lorries not destined for Glastonbury are directed to another suitable route.”

In effect, we are under attack; but people in Glastonbury have a remarkable record of responding to such challenges creatively and effectively. We can’t expect a quick result, and we can’t really be sure how it will come about, but we can expect some Glastonbury magic. This first action was small but significant: it stated an intention that will grow in strength and determination.

For more information, and pictures, see FaceBook ‘Love Our Levels’. If you would like to get involved with an ongoing campaign of direct action, contact the A361 Action Group: