Following on from other recent confrontations with the London General Assembly over broken promises and weak responses to pollution, supporters of the Stop Killing Londoners campaign blockaded a major entry point into the capital several times during this morning’s rush hour.
Approximately 20 activists wearing Santa Hats and tinsel blocked off Chiswick roundabout four times between 7 and 8am, creating grid lock in West London with significant disruption to the M4. The protest was to demand more affirmative action from city mayor Sadiq Khan and the Greater London Authority to tackle the air pollution crisis. Police appeared at the scene about half an hour into the protest, with no arrests. Drivers were offered mince pies in gratitude for their patience, and carols were sung by the blockaders in the street.
Protester Roger Hallam said:
All of our peaceful direct actions are done to bring an end to the 9,000- 10,000 Londoners being killed every year due to toxic and unlawful levels of air pollution, and the thousands of others who’s lungs are being poisoned and scarred for life.
Despite our meeting with Ellie Robinson who works directly with the Mayor and Elliot Traherne, who is one of the leading civil servants advising on matters of air pollution to the Mayor, we still have no assurance that the Mayor takes this emergency seriously enough to meet with us.
Our meeting with his advisers was very cordial and friendly, but ultimately non-committal and certainly not indicative that the Mayor’s office takes seriously the true scale of this health crisis. And for that reason we must be prepared to hold the Mayor’s feet to the fire and say “let Khan’s traffic chaos continue to commence.
In a statement, Stop Killing Londoners: Cut Air Pollution Campaign said it “Understands that both the Mayor’s office and central government have many responsibilities. However, the consequences of the collective failure to take concrete steps to immediately tackle lethal and unlawful levels of air-pollution cannot be understated. Now is the time for bold actions and proposals and not platitudes and prevarications.”
The UK government is currently being sued for a third time by environmental lawyers over its “inadequate” air quality policies, something which has been supported by Khan. Critics say however that the mayor’s own office also remains dangerously lacking in meaningful, immediate action. Unlawful air pollution is estimated to kill at least 40,000 people nationwide every year — 9,500 of them in London.
Pics courtesy of Stop Killing Londoners: Cut Air Pollution Campaign