Publication Date: 20/01/2021 ISBN: 9780745340593 Category:

Roads, Runways and Resistance

Steve Melia

Publisher: Pluto Press
Publication Date: 20/01/2021 ISBN: 9780745340593 Category:
Paperback / Softback




From the anti-roads protests of the 1990s to HS2 and Extinction Rebellion, conflict and protest have shaped the politics of transport. In 1989, Margaret Thatcher’s government announced ‘the biggest road-building programme since the Romans.’ This is the inside story of the thirty tumultuous years that have followed.

Roads, Runways and Resistance draws on over 50 interviews with government ministers, advisors and protestors – many of whom, including ‘Swampy’, speak here for the first time about the events they describe. It is a story of transport ministers undermined by their own Prime Ministers, protestors attacked or quietly supported by the police, and smartly-dressed protestors who found a way onto the roof of the Houses of Parliament.

Today, as a new wave of road building and airport expansion threatens to bust Britain’s carbon budgets, climate change protestors find themselves on a collision course with the government. Melia asks, what difference did the protests of the past make? And what impacts might today’s protest movements have on the transport of the future?

Publisher Review

'Authoritative, insightful and full of wonderful colour and incident - this is probably the best dissection of an 'environmental' movement, and its evolution over many decades, that I have read' -- Charles Secrett, environmental activist and former head of Friends of the Earth England 'I couldn't put it down until I'd read it right to the end. And even then I wanted more. It's fascinating, important, and very well-informed' -- Professor Phil Goodwin, Emeritus Professor of Transport Policy at UCL 'Entertainingly lifts the lid on the real-world to-ing and fro-ing of policy making in what is often a hotly - and sometimes a bitterly - contested environment' -- Steve Gooding, Director of the RAC Foundation 'As a movement for social change it is important that we understand our own history. This is a compelling read.' -- Gail Bradbrook, Co-Founder of Extinction Rebellion

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