Sheffield climate change protest sparks fierce debate among readers

A climate change protest that brought a major Sheffield roundabout to a standstill has sparked fierce debate among Star readers.

By Lee Peace
Tuesday, 10th September 2019, 9:58 am
Updated Tuesday, 10th September 2019, 2:34 pm

Traffic was gridlocked at the Bridgehouses Roundabout that connects Derek Dooley Way to Corporation Street in Kelham Island as about 100 members of Extinction Rebellion held banners across the carriageway for five minute intervals between 8am and 9am on Monday.

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The move sparked fury among some motorists and police officers had to intervene as a yellow car and later a moped crept forward towards protesters.

Climate protestors, Extinction Rebellion block Derek Dooley Way in Sheffield at Bridgehouse Roundabout to disrupt the morning rush hour traffic flow into the city

Members of Extinction Rebellion Sheffield said blocking the road was necessary in order to make people stand up and take climate change seriously.

They specifically want Sheffield City Council to reverse a decision to widen the Inner Ring Road, which they claim will bring more traffic into the city centre.

The protest has got a lot of people talking, many of which took to The Star's Facebook page to make their voices heard.

Paul Motley said: “I agree with their principles, but not by stopping people going about their everyday lives.”

Karl Jonsie posted: “Surely there is other ways to voice off their anger.”

Mark Allen suggested protesters should protest outside the Chinese and Indian embassies as “these are the major polluters, not the city of Sheffield which has made remarkable improvements since the 19th century.”

Protest co-ordinator Dr Bing Jones, aged 67, from Nether Green, described the climate emergency as a crisis happening now but criticised the council for a lack of action.

Dr Jones apologised to motorists for blocking the road but said ‘our methods get us into the media’, and added it was important to maximise coverage of the issue.

The protest comes as a £4.6 million scheme to reduce congestion by widening the Inner Ring Road continues.

The authority said that widening the road will improve traffic flow which is better for the environment.

Councillor Mark Jones, cabinet member for environment at Sheffield City Council, said he wants to work with protesters to tackle climate change and is confident of ‘achieving a zero carbon economy by 2030.’