Climate campaigners to block traffic in Sheffield city centre once again

Climate change campaigners are preparing to once again block traffic in Sheffield city centre in protest at works to widen the city’s ring road.

Wednesday, 28th August 2019, 08:57 am
Updated Wednesday, 28th August 2019, 17:28 pm

Members of Extinction Rebellion Sheffield will block roads during the morning rush-hour on Monday, September 9 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.

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. Extinction Rebellion Sheffield will not allow our council to force us into an extinction dead end.

Campaigners held a 'die in' at Sheffield Town Hall in May.

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The planned protest will be held on Monday, September 9 from around 7.30am and comes as a £4.6 million scheme to reduce congestion by widening the inner ring road continues.

But Dr Bing Jones, of Extinction Rebellion Sheffield, said the group was not yet disclosing the exact location of the protest.

Extinction Rebellion held a protest on Sheaf Street in March.

He said: “The truth is that it is a massive task what the council has set itself – to reduce emissions by 14 per cent year on year by 2038.

“The council needs to tell the truth that we all need to change and improve housing stock and reduce the amount of cars on our roads and flights – these are all things that people of Sheffield need to be told.

“This can’t be done through normal processes. There needs to be imagination and flare in terms of how it is going to be done.”

This week has also seen Coun Lewis Dagnall resign as cabinet member for environment, streetscene and climate change. He is married to Coun Olivia Blake, who sensationally quit on Friday as deputy leader of Sheffield Council.

Campaigners stage a 'die in' at Sheffield Town Hall in May.

Dr Jones said: “I have not spoken to Lewis so I don’t know the complete background but I do know that he is well-informed on the environment and I hope he will have some of sort of plan for continuing to have some sort of input.”

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.

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.”