'Red Rebels' in striking protest at Darwin Oak threatened by Shrewsbury relief road

A striking protest has been held against the loss of trees threatened with felling if Shrewsbury's North West Relief Road goes ahead.

The Red Rebels at the Darwin Oak. Photos Ray Jacobs and Pete Griffith
The Red Rebels at the Darwin Oak. Photos Ray Jacobs and Pete Griffith

The Extinction Rebellion 'Red Rebels' dressed all in red and with white painted faces walked slowly and silently along Bicton Road to a 550-year-old oak tree, named the Darwin Oak.

They dressed the tree with a ribbon heart and paid homage to it.

The Extinction Rebellion Red Rebels' moving tribute was part of the objection to the multi million pound relief road.

Julia Barnsley, a spokesperson for the group said: "We took the action today because we wanted to convey our dismay at the ill-conceived plan, which will not only destroy the peace and beauty of the only remaining wedge of unspoilt countryside in the area around the town, but also flies in the face of the changes necessary for the council to honour their obligations regarding reducing carbon emissions.

One of the Red Rebels. Photos Ray Jacobs and Pete Griffith.

"Many of us feel deep sadness at the prospect of losing such majestic trees, some of which have existed for hundreds of years, this is our English heritage”.

"The Red Rebels created a striking presence as they walked along Bicton Road, past woodland that will be torn down and into Shelton Rough to dress Darwin’s Oak, which has quietly kept watch over Shrewsbury since the War of the Roses."

"Whilst other protesting groups have very effectively informed the public with their wealth of scientific knowledge and facts, the Red Rebels felt that it was important to express the widespread grief over the destruction of precious habitats known to contribute to our wellbeing. We wanted to express the pain many feel at the prospect of the destruction of these irreplaceable trees, hedgerows and wildflowers.

The Red Rebels at the Darwin Oak. Photos Ray Jacobs and Pete Griffith.

"Lockdown has taught us the importance of the availability of such local amenities and that it is essential that we conserve them, not only do they provide for our wellbeing but also help support countless other species, the most visible and important of which rely upon wildlife corridors such as this road will destroy."

It is vital that we continue to aim towards net zero carbon emissions. This can only be achieved with a sustainable transport infrastructure. Experts say that we need emissions reductions of the size caused by the coronavirus pandemic to happen every year.

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Red Rebels have added their objections to more than 2,500 people which have been counted by the BEST, the Better Shrewsbury Transport, website, monitoring comments and objections to the Shrewsbury Council's consultation.

The deadline for objections to the planning application is April 27.

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