'We Knew We Must Speak out against Nuclear Weapons' Campaigners Celebrate as 'No-Camping' By-Law Is Quashed

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Byline: Stephen Howard

AN ANTI-NUCLEAR campaigner spoke of her joy after judges blocked plans to close a women's peace camp that has stood for 25 years.

Kay Tabernacle, from Roath, Cardiff, led a group from the Aldermaston Women's Peace Camp (AWPC), in challenging a special "no camping" by-law which threatened to put an end to the camp near the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston in Berkshire.

The by-law took effect in May last year and banned "camping in tents, caravans, trees or otherwise".

The group initially lost their case at the High Court when they argued that the ban amounted to an unlawful interference with freedom of expression and the right of assembly guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights.

But yesterday Lord Justice Laws, Lord Justice Wall and Lord Justice Stanley Burnton allowed their challenge to the ruling at the Court of Appeal, saying the Secretary of State for Defence had not shown there was a "pressing social need" for the by-law.

Speaking outside the Royal Courts of Justice yesterday, peace camp spokeswoman Sian Jones said: "We are absolutely delighted by today's outcome, which is not only a victory for the women's peace camp but an important judgement on the right to protest.

"We are a legal form of protest and have been for the last 25 years at Aldermaston. Now our peace camp is no longer criminalised.

"The judgement gives us renewed energy to carry on our opposition to the Government's plans for development of a new generation of nuclear weapons at Aldermaston. …