Activists in Norwich came together to protest the City Council's destructive plans at a time of climate crisis, reports Jacqueline Mulhallen
On Saturday 29 January, 300 people from various groups such as Norwich Extinction Rebellion, Stop the Wensum Link Campaign, Friends of the Earth, Green and Labour parties including MPs, came together with many others to march or cycle to the site of the proposed Norwich Western Link Road.
The link is unlikely to be a magic solution to traffic problems in the area. Norfolk County Council reports show that the environmental damage will extend beyond the dual carriageway and include light pollution damage to ancient woodlands and run off into chalk streams.
Speaking at the protest, Clive Lewis MP said, ‘It really does take a visit to take in the enormity and tragedy of the destruction being proposed. Building something like the Wensum Link would be like wilfully taking another step towards the precipice.’ James Harvey from Norwich Extinction Rebellion, added, ‘The impact of 3 miles through this countryside will be nothing short of devastating’.
Robert Shippey of King’s Lynn Extinction Rebellion said,
‘The scale and urgency of the climate and nature crisis we face means we need to be thinking carefully about the impact of everything and massive new road projects is the opposite of what is needed. New roads induce more traffic and pollution and the increase of carbon emissions alone should make this project a nonstarter as well as the destruction of nature including ancient woods and the very rare Barbastelle bat colony.
‘Today these groups came together to bear witness to the nature that is at risk. Norfolk County Council should invest in green and sustainable public transport for all rather than new roads which destroy nature and increase emissions. It was heartening to see so many people of all ages and from various groups come together. It showed how strong we are together.’
The campaign has launched a crowdfunder and will be continuing to organise against the Council’s damaging plans.
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Jacqueline Mulhallen, actor and playwright, has co-ordinated King’s Lynn Stop the War since 2003 and initiated and organised 14 Women for Change talks for King’s Lynn & District Trades Council (2012/2013). Her books include The Theatre of Shelley (Openbooks, 2010), and a Shelley biography (Pluto Press, 2015). Her plays include 'Sylvia' and 'Rebels and Friends’.
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