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Roads, Runways and Resistance from the Newbury Bypass to Extinction Rebellion

Roads, Runways and Resistance from the Newbury Bypass to Extinction Rebellion

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. 

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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?

Steve Melia is Senior Lecturer in Transport and Planning at the University of the West of England. He is the author of Urban Transport Without the Hot Air (UIT Cambridge, 2015). He has advised government departments and several local authorities on urban transport planning and has given evidence in public inquiries on road schemes and plans to build new towns.

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