Extinction Rebellion campaigners demand action in protest outside Newham Council’s Royal Docks HQ
PUBLISHED: 17:00 01 June 2020 | UPDATED: 17:16 01 June 2020
Extinction Rebellion campaigners urged the council to “be bold, be brave and dream of a new world beyond Covid-19” at a protest.
Protesters stood up to three metres apart holding placards saying “Change is now” and “Cough and wheeze or live and breathe” outside the local authority’s Dockside headquarters in the Royal Docks on Saturday, May 30.
Group member Margot Farnham said: “Newham Council led the way in declaring a climate and ecological emergency in April last year.
“They have held a citizen’s assembly to identify solutions to the climate crisis, generated by residents themselves.
“As the lockdown lifts, they have closed some parking bays to give more space to pedestrians and encourage people
to leave the car at home. But we want them to go further.”
As lockdown eases, the Newham XR members want to avoid returning to “car-clogged” streets, lethal air quality and a “hostile environment” for the planet’s flora and fauna.
The group wants car use and ownership per household to be limited with the most polluting vehicles taken off the roads.
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Projects including the Silvertown Tunnel scheme should also be resisted, the group says.
It also wants more infrastructure to encourage cycling and measures to prevent people taking the car on short journeys.
More allotments, wild spaces and publication of recommendations emerging from the council’s climate change citizens assembly in January are also among the demands.
The campaigners urged the town hall to call for extra government funding to tackle the climate emergency.
A Newham Council spokesperson said: “Newham Council [has] made very clear commitments to environmental measures designed to tackle global warming, reduce pollution and improve poor air quality, and reduce waste.
“This current crisis and unprecedented time of challenge dealing with the effects of Covid-19 has highlighted how important these measures are and strengthens our resolve to accelerate their implementation as a legacy of this awful period.”
He added Newham is widening pavements, removing parking bays and decluttering streets with more plans coming as a result of working with City Hall, TfL and neighbouring boroughs.
The council has also appointed a climate change commissioner and opposed building a tunnel from Greenwich to Silvertown as well as London City Airport’s sought after expansion.
An extra £1million is to be spent per year on air quality too.
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