THE HIGHWAYS Agency this week started its next phase of evictions on the route of Britain's first directly tolled motorway, the Birmingham Northern Relief Road.
Notices announcing a writ of possession hearing to be held at the High Court in London next Monday were posted outside the main Greenwood protest camp on New Year's Eve. Around 20 campaigners are still occupying the site just off the A38 near Sutton Coldfield.
An Agency spokeswoman said eviction of 24 protesters from Moneymore cottages adjacent to Greenwood had been completed safely before Christmas. The last two protesters were brought out of tunnels beneath the cottages on 20 December after spending 12 days underground.
But protesters said they still had plans to protect other parts of the 43km route. 'Put it this way, we've got a strong and experienced force here and frontliners do not give up easily,' said anti-roads campaigner 'Camper'.
Protesters estimate that up to £2M has so far been spent on evictions from 200m of the route, and that the overall figure could be rise as high as £50M.
But an Agency spokeswoman denied that the cost would reach this level. 'The Newbury evictions cost £26M but that was at the height of road protesting. This project has not seen anything like the same scale of direct action, we're only talking about a hard core of 20 people.'