Bristol Metrobus protest protecting trees and soil

Makeshift field kitchen with two smiling cooks      

Instead of running away to join the circus, I would join a protest camp: outdoor places of learning and purpose, infused with community spirit and love of the land, they give me hope. 

I visited the Rising Up camp on Friday 13 February 2015.

The camp is protecting land and trees from a destructive and unnecessary road-and-bridge building scheme to create a bus route (Bristol needs more buses but not new roads).  

The soil at stake is part of the Blue Finger with prime agricultural soil. It is irreplaceable. Soil takes centuries to form yet can be lost in no time. 

Look at the timing: the destruction of these Bristol soils takes place in the year the United Nations has launched the International Year of Soils 2015 to alert the world to the destruction of a resource on which we depend for over 95% of our food. 

Look at the timing: The University of Sheffield has found UK’s soils are so degraded, there may only be enough for 100 more harvests, it warned last autumn.

Look at the timing: the destruction of Bristol’s soils takes place in the year that Bristol is European Green Capital 2015

In other words, one part of the system is aware of the importance of protecting our planet, while the other part of the system is intent on destroying it.

It is not only the trees and land of the allotments at Stapleton allotments and Feed Bristol that will suffer.

Here is the Metrobust 2015 calendar of city-wide destructionmetrobust-calendar-4

The Metrobus scheme received final planning approval on the 27 August 2014 from Bristol City Council planning committee, despite two years of protest. 

The following are worth reading: 

Court order for immediate possession

On Thursday 12 February 2015, Bristol City Council went to the High Court to evict the protesters and, surprise surprise, with the aid of top lawyers, Burges Salmon, (and supporters of Bristol Green Capital) won a court order. Above and below is a copy of the council’s possession order.

Court order for immediate possession

Court order for immediate possession delivered

A man (who gave me permission to take his photo but would not say where he was from) handed over the order on Friday 13 December 2015.  

Tree top camps Bristol

The tree top protestors hope to halt the felling of these irreplaceable trees.

Tree top camps Bristol Metrobus protest

Treetop protest Metrobus Bristol

Protected trees sign

The trees are protected – read the notice!

Bailliffs' steel fence and spotlights protest camp Metrobus Bristol

 At the edge of the protest camp, bailiffs set up flood lights last week which are kept on ALL NIGHT. 

Bailiffs' spotlight Metrobus Bristol

Which side of this steel fence would you rather be on?

Compost toilet Metrobus Bristol

Back in the protest camp, a beautiful village has sprung up including with a compost loo (above).

Field kitchen Rising Up camp

The field kitchen under canvas cooks healthy meals.

Lentils for the pot Rising Up protest camp

Leanna wields a packet of nutrition-laden red lentils.

Mishappen parsnip Metrobus Bristol

Leanna shows me a cosmetically-imperfect but perfectly-healthy parsnip – the kind of produce that would be rejected by a supermarket.

Cooking pot field kitchen Metrobus Bristol

Leanna who is studying nutrition tells me how she and Jack made the communal stew: Chopped onions and chilli coated in coconut oil and fried with spices to hand including turmeric and coriander spices, with water added to stew to cook the lentils and rice (providing all 8 essential amino acids) and parsnips and carrots (once muddy now scrubbed and cut), with fresh tomatoes and cauliflower and cabbage and fresh garlic added at the end.

Stew served at log table Metrobus protest Bristol

Stew is served on a log table.

Rising Up poster

The Rising Up notice (above) says, this situation:

“reveals the crisis of our systems and our leadership. If our Mayor cannot call for the design to be altered, to stop the destruction (and he says he cannot) who has the power to bring the beast to heel?

Perhaps it is only us“.

This Rising up camp shows people of spirit and principle proclaim a stand against the might of a mindless system that turns a blind eye to its own destructiveness. 

The brave protestors await the bailiffs to descend at any moment to remove them from the land and trees they are trying to protect.

Please sign this petition to show your support

– currently only 1,500 signatures away from 5,000! 

15 responses to “Bristol Metrobus protest protecting trees and soil

  1. Thanks for trying to comment! Just trying to sort out comments now…


  2. Go permaculture!


  3. Very informative article. I agree we need more buses in Bristol but definitely don’t need to destroy trees, land and soil, the place where we get our food and (some of our) oxygen from, in order to have more roads so people can pollute the city – we need to become more self sufficient, not less. How can George agree to this when he helped Bristol become the European Green Capital 2015? The contradiction is saddening.
    Thanks for the food inspiration. I would like to give that stew a go myself, sounds delicious, easy and a very nice mixture of ingredients.


  4. Your determination is inspiring! It’s unbelievable that such a productive area of land could even be considered for nasty unnecessary road purposes, and if it wasn’t for protest it would be cleanly wiped away. On a side note, that does like quite an impressive parsnip…


  5. Very interesting response to some of the issues affecting Bristol today… I wonder whether George Ferguson really values the environment around his city or if making Bristol the European Green Capital was just a political stunt?


  6. Great article!!
    Never mind the soil, trees, birds, bats or Green Belt if there is grubby money to be made by the soulless.
    Pave paradise – put up a parking lot


  7. Thanks for the blog, clear explanation of the situation and love to see the pics from camp life. What an upsetting and illogical course of action from the ‘green capital’…


  8. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I have signed the petition. Did George misunderstand and think we are Europe’s Brown Capital?
    The sad thing is, once it’s gone , it is gone.


  9. So true, Geraldine. It takes centuries for soil to form and trees to grow, yet they can be destroyed in no time at all.


  10. Ingrid Rose Goldenstein

    O man this is depressing. Only 100 harvests left!!!??.
    This is a very good summary of what’s happening (despite leaving me feeling darked out). Send it to George! I feel that George is not all bad (but it getting closer to being) & some part of him could understand & agree with what you’re saying.


  11. Pingback: Bristol Metrobus protest protecting trees and soil | Real Food Lover | rethink m32parkandride

  12. Done and Good luck!!

    Date: Sun, 15 Feb 2015 13:36:00 +0000 To:


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