Environmental protestors demonstrated on a busy road in Putney yesterday morning in support of World Car Free Day.
Extinction Rebellion Wandsworth occupied the junction of Putney High Street and Upper Richmond Road – one of the most polluted junctions in London.
The demonstration took place from 8.30 to 9.30am and again at 3.30-4.30pm, when traffic was heaviest.
The group say they want to show people what life could be like if Wandsworth Council prioritised pedestrians and encouraged cycling.
A spokesperson for XR said:
“Car use is damaging both because of the high levels of carbon emissions it produces, contributing to global heating, and because of the harmful health impacts of air pollution.
“Electric vehicles are not the answer because it is tire and brake wear that produces the most dangerous PM2.5 particles – which unfortunately Wandsworth Council doesn’t measure. As a society we need to change our behaviour.”
“In addition, gridlock is a drain on the economy. It wastes people’s productive time, while active travellers can bypass traffic while getting healthier. Active travel is literally getting the economy moving!”
The protests come at a time when roads are at capacity due to closures at Hammersmith and Wandsworth Bridges, while the recently suspended Low Traffic Neighbourhood scheme has seen Wandsworth gridlocked for weeks.
“A future prioritising active travel and walking is a big change from the status quo. To manage this the council needs to show leadership and engage the public to explain the vision,” says local resident Lee Fennell.