PROTESTORS who set up camp on Blackheath have been slammed by councillors.

The location of Climate Camp had been kept secret until the first campers arrived by bike yesterday afternoon (Aug 26) as protestors claimed they did not trust the police.

Around 3,000 people are expected to take part in the week-long camp, by Hare and Billet Road, which aims to show how climate change is caused by capitalism.

The camp, ringed around the edges by metal gates, has been split into different ‘neighbourhoods’, each with their own kitchen and morning meeting areas.

It is also equipped with compost toilets and even has it’s own radio station and TV channel using generators powered by bikes.

News Shopper: Protestors set up camp yesterday Protestor Tom Costello, from Forest Hill, was one of the first wave to arrive by bike and said fences had been put up to provide security from police.

He said: “I hope that we’ll be getting lots of people to visit and the police will behave themselves.”

The 21-year-old student said the campers would leave the heath as they had found it and claimed all events on the site would shut down each day before midnight.

Campers are also handing out 4,000 leaflets to residents, explaining the protest to them, inviting them for a guided tour and giving notice of a public meeting to be held on Sunday.

Mr Costello explained: “The key point is that we don’t believe climate change will be solved by market-based solutions.

“We all believe that a Government-led initiative is required.”

News Shopper: Protestors say capitalism is not the solution to climate change

But Lewisham Mayor Sir Steve Bullock said that, though he had sympathy for the protestors’ cause, he did not agree with the camp.

He said: “I don’t think that a camp like this, which was unannounced and uninvited in an area which is a beautiful part of London is the right way to do this.

“My concern is that it actually distracts from the practical job of getting up and doing something about climate change.”

And leader of Greenwich Conservatives Councillor Spencer Drury said: “I suspect that it may attract negative publicity and so damage more serious attempts to deal with green issues in a constructive, long-term way.”

News Shopper: Christine Bell, 53, arrives on site But their arrival was welcomed by Lewisham Green councillor Cllr Darren Johnson.

He said: "We're really proud Climate Camp chose Lewisham as its base for communicating its hugely important and positive message.

"The campers have promised to be good neighbours and we are confident the heath will be left just as it was found.”

The Met Police has met with Lewisham and Greenwich Council to assess the camp’s impact and have said they will provide a “low-key local response” with a mobile police station and “neighbourhood style” policing around the campsite.

Chief Superintendent Helen Ball said: "What we have made clear through our dialogue with Climate Camp representatives is that our policing response will be proportionate to the situation.

“Not knowing where the camp would be in advance made it impossible for us to work with the local authority or emergency services to sort out some very practical things. This work is now ongoing.”