Page last updated at 15:36 GMT, Monday, 22 December 2008

Tree-top protest looks to be over

Winter up one of the ancient trees
Protestors were occupying a branch over neighbouring land

A tree-top protest against plans for an 87m relief road looks to be over with the last tree at the site being felled.

Campaigners moved to the site of the tree overhanging neighbouring land at Two Mile Coppice, Weymouth, on Thursday in defiance of an eviction order.

The protest continued over the weekend despite Dorset County Council securing a land possession order.

But when police arrived on Monday for a daily visit, no-one was up the tree and contractors moved in to clear it.

The government gave the go-ahead for the road scheme last week.

A Dorset Police spokesperson said: "When the officers arrived on the site at 1215 GMT, there was no protestor in the tree. There was a protestor on the ground looking after the protestors' camp.

'Possession order'

"Dorset County Council's contractors came to site and they are in the process of felling the tree. No-one has been injured and there have been no arrests."

Dorset County Council secured a land possession order to evict the protestors on Thursday.

But the demonstration, which began on 11 December, continued through the weekend.

Dorset County Council served a compulsory purchase order on the land which meant the protestors were legally required to leave.

While the oak tree is on land covered by the notice, the branch they occupied overhangs adjacent Woodland Trust land.

A council spokesperson said: "Work to clear the woodland along the western edge strip of Two Mile Coppice is continuing as scheduled.

"The recent encampment by protesters in a tree on county council-owned land has caused no delays to the clearance work."

The coppice is among land in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) that Dorset County Council was given permission to buy from The Woodland Trust, using compulsory purchase orders.

The Woodland Trust has said the road is a "near act of vandalism" on the environment.

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