'Climate crime scene' protest over Shrewsbury North West Relief Road

Protesters staged a "climate crime scene" protest outside Shirehall in opposition to the Shrewsbury North West Relief Road.

'Climate crime scene investigators' were at Shirehall to protest against the Shrewsbury North West Relief Road
'Climate crime scene investigators' were at Shirehall to protest against the Shrewsbury North West Relief Road

Extinction Rebellion campaigners dressed in clear plastic overalls and used blue and white police tape as they protested outside the Shropshire Council HQ on Monday morning.

More than 500 comments have been made on the planning application for the £87 million road, which would run from Churncote roundabout to Battlefield.

Mike Bastow, a spokesperson for the Shrewsbury group, said: “The North West Road is a crime against the climate, the planet and our kids’ futures. Climate and related ecological breakdown is happening right here, right now and will get worse. Building the road will mean a net increase in carbon, pumping 70,000 tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere before a single car uses it. That’s the equivalent of flying every man, woman and child in Shrewsbury to New York and back.

“In a zero carbon future, it is infrastructure we will look at and wonder why our council were not more visionary. It makes a total mockery of Shropshire Council’s climate emergency declaration. Further, the project will carve up our beautiful countryside and farmland; destroy wildlife habitats and internationally recognised wetlands; and threaten the town’s water supply.”

He added: “In May 2019 Shropshire Council declared a climate emergency and said that climate change presents ‘a serious threat to humanity’ and warned us about ‘catastrophic impacts’ if we didn’t cut emissions urgently. If that’s true, then building the North West Road is a climate crime. Increasing our emissions as a county will make flood damage worse and increase crop failure due to drought – two things that are already affecting Shropshire.

“If Shropshire Council was serious about tackling the climate emergency it would cancel this road immediately. Our neighbours in Hereford cancelled their bypass after a report from the contractors WSP showed they could solve town centre congestion problems for a quarter of the cost. How? By investing in better public transport and more cycling. Why hasn’t Shropshire Council commissioned a similar report from WSP?

“We can’t close our eyes to this environmental crime. If you want to stop the council from fuelling climate catastrophe, you must use your voice and object to the road before 27 April."

Shropshire Council leader Peter Nutting believes the road will reduce town centre traffic and offer "huge improvements" for many villages to the north and west of Shrewsbury.

To view or comment on the application visit https://bit.ly/3dEXknq.

The protest is the latest of a spate of demonstrations held by Extinction Rebellion where they have but blue "crime scene" tape up, including one outside Barclays Bank in Oswestry.

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