Extinction Rebellion shuts down London road in the name of air quality

Extinction Rebellion blocked Cranbourne Street in central London on Monday (December 9) to protest against a ‘lack of action’ on air pollution.

The roadblock in central London was emblazoned with the words ‘air pollution kills 25 Londoners a day’ and twenty-five breeze blocks, which they say represents every life lost due to exposure to air pollution every day in London, was glued to the road. Six people were glued onto the breeze blocks. 

The action is part of the ‘Election Rebellion’ and seeks to place the climate and ecological emergency at the top of the agenda for all political parties. Road closures also took place in Manchester, Weymouth, Yeovil and York.

Meanwhile, Extinction Rebellion hunger strikers remain outside Political Party headquarters in Westminster as they enter the fourth week of their strike.

Peter Cole, a 76-year-old grandfather, is one of those now on their 22nd day without food.

Extinction Rebellion spokesperson and teacher, Rosamund Frost, said: ‘We are here demanding action on illegal levels of toxic air in our communities, our schools and our streets.  

‘In February 2017, the European Commission issued a “final warning” to the UK over illegal levels of air pollution. In May that year, after the government failed to take decisive action, they were taken to Europe’s highest court, the European court of justice. 

‘The government have neglected to tackle fatal levels of air pollution. How can we put our trust in them to address the broader climate and ecological emergency?’

Earlier this year, a King’s College London study revealed that Extinction Rebellion’s protests in London had a positive impact on the capital’s air quality.

London Air, which uses KCL data, monitored the local air quality impact of the protests, which started by blocking roads and junctions in Oxford Circus, Parliament Square, Waterloo Bridge and Marble Arch.

Data found that sites close to the protests experienced significant drops in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentration as road traffic in those areas was reduced.

The Strand, near Waterloo Bridge, and Oxford Street both had lighter air pollution than normal, while hourly pollution levels in the latter were down by almost 50%.