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

Melia, Steven


Steven Melia
Senior Lecturer in Transport Planning


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?


Melia, S. (2021). Roads Runways and Resistance - from the Newbury Bypass to Extinction Rebellion. London: Pluto Press

Book Type Authored Book
Acceptance Date Apr 4, 2019
Online Publication Date Jan 20, 2021
Publication Date Jan 20, 2021
Deposit Date Jan 19, 2021
ISBN 978 0 7453 4059 3
Keywords protest movements; social movements; transport policy; climate change
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