Climate campaigners planning to block traffic once again in Sheffield city centre

Climate change campaigners have pledged to once again block traffic in Sheffield city centre during the morning rush-hour in protest at works to widen the city’s ring road.

By Sam Cooper
Tuesday, 13th August 2019, 8:47 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th August 2019, 2:41 pm

Members of Extinction Rebellion Sheffield will block roads on Monday, September 9 at 7.30am as they say they will not ‘allow our council to force us into an extinction dead end’.

In March, tensions rose between frustrated motorists and members of the group who blocked traffic on the crossing outside Sheffield railway station on Sheaf Street.

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Extinction Rebellion held a 'die in' 'at Sheffield Town Hall in May.

In a statement, Extinction Rebellion Sheffield said: “Sheffield City Council has declared a climate emergency and launched various consultations. At the same time they are forging ahead with plans to widen the ring road. This condemns our children to more air pollution and our world to more vehicular carbon emissions.

“This represents the widening gap between the promises our council make and the actions they take. Extinction Rebellion Sheffield will not allow our council to force us into an extinction dead end.

“On Monday, September 9 at 07:30 am we will block the roads and rebel for life. We will stand up for our futures. We hope you will stand with us.

“The time for inaction is over – we know the truth about the climate crisis. It is time to act.”

Extinction Rebellion held a 'die in' 'at Sheffield Town Hall in May.

The planned protest comes as a £4.6 million scheme to reduce congestion by widening the inner ring road continues.

Sheffield Council went ahead with its plan to widen Derek Dooley Way between Corporation Street and Saville Street despite concerns from dozens of residents.

After concerns were raised about increasing pollution and traffic, the decision was called in for scrutiny and it was discussed at an economic and environmental wellbeing scrutiny meeting where about a dozen residents came to ask questions.

The ongoing roadworks on Derek Dooley Way. Picture: Scott Merrylees

After two hours of scrutiny, it was decided that the plans would go ahead but with a closer eye on its progress.

The council said both traffic congestion and journey times on the Inner Ring Road (IRR) were increasing, particularly during the morning and evening peak hours.

It said: “One of the worst sections is between Sheffield Parkway and Penistone Road. This section needs more road capacity and improvements to the operation and layout of the signal junctions.

“This will allow increased traffic generated by future growth in the city centre and its economy to be accommodated.”

Speaking at the meeting in January, Coun Douglas Johnson, representative for City ward, said: “This whole scheme seems to be based on belief, not evidence.”