York activists are NOT planning direct action over city ring road

A PUBLIC meeting called by Extinction Rebellion activists in York tomorrow to discuss opposition to plans to dual part of the city’s outer ring road will NOT be drawing up options for direct action, The Press has been told.

Laura Autumn Cox, a member of Extinction Rebellion York, said instead the aim would be to bring together a coalition of people and organisations opposed to the proposals – and to come up with alternatives that could be put to the city council.

She said among the organisations expected to send representatives to the meeting were the York Cycle Campaign, the York Environment Forum and the York Civic Trust.

Many of these were groups that would not countenance direct action, she said – but which wanted to meet to discuss alternatives to the ring road plans.

As The Press reported last year, dualling of the A1237 York Outer Ring Road came a major step closer with the submission of a planning application by City of York Council.

The authority says the £65 million upgrade, which includes improvements to five roundabouts, is aimed at reducing congestion, moving car journeys out of the city centre and improving active travel facilities for pedestrians and cyclists.

But Ms Cox said it had been known for decades that trying to tackle congestion by building more roads simply increased both congestion and emissions.

Dualling the outer ring road would create not just one but two huge new roads, one travelling in each direction, she said.

That made no sense, she insisted – especially since York had just adopted its climate change strategy, calling for a 71 per cent reduction in emissions from transport in York.

But she said that the dualling plans were still only at the consultation stage. And she said she was ‘optimistic’ that the council could be persuaded to reject the plans – or at least water them down – if a committed coalition of people and organisations could come up with realistic alternative proposals for reducing congestion in York.

“We know that the council has good intentions – to try to reduce congestion in central York,” she said.

“We are hoping to bring together lots of different groups, and we believe we have a good chance of getting them (the council) to reject the proposal as it stands, or at least tweak it, if we can get together some alternative proposals that we could present.”

Tomorrow’s meeting will take place upstairs in The Studio at Spark:York at 7pm.

Places are limited, and tickets are going fast, so if you want to be there make sure to reserve tickets via Eventbrite at www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/public-meeting-dualling-yorks-ring-road-in-a-climate-crisis-seriously-tickets-503205389867

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