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Extinction Rebellion and Stop Killing Cyclists call on Chancellor to invest £6 billion per year in cycling

Joseph Delves
3 Sep 2019

Protest outside the Treasury planned to coincide with the Autumn budget

On Saturday 7th September Extinction Rebellion and Stop Killing Cyclists are planning to protest outside the Treasury in London. They’ll be asking the Chancellor, Sajid Javid, to begin investing £6 billion per year in cycling in the Autumn Budget.

'We're working hard to tell the world the truth about the climate and ecological emergency we're in,' explained a spokesperson for the event.

'The reality of what’s happening to our environment is beyond bad and this is the last budget for the UK to respond in time to the warning issued by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, in September 2018.

'He said that world governments needed to start radically cutting carbon emissions within two years if humanity were to have a chance of saving itself.'

As more renewable and less polluting sources have come online, transport has overtaken energy production to become the largest source of UK greenhouse gas emissions. In 1993 a decision was made to tax fuel at a rate rising at 3% above inflation per year.

Introduced as a measure to stem the increase in pollution from road transport and cut the need for new road building at a time of major road protests, the rate was later increased to 6% by Gordon Brown.

Since repeatedly rowed-back on by both Labour and Conservative governments, a freeze in fuel duties since 2011 has led to a real-terms cut in the duty for successive budgets.

Along with a reversal to the annual tax cuts for diesel and petrol, the pollution from which contributes to the deaths of thousands of people every year, the protest will demand £6 billion a year be invested in active travel. Equivalent to 20% of the total transport budget, this is in line with recommendations made by the UN in 2016.

'We're asking the Chancellor to instead invest the £6 billion a year necessary to create a national protected cycling network by 2025, the XR (Extinction Rebellion) target date for a zero-carbon Britain,' explained a member of the group.

Starting at noon, the protest will consist of a symbolic funeral procession from Lincoln’s Inn Fields to the Treasury, followed by a mass die-in to represent the millions dying from climate breakdown and fossil fuel transport pollution.

Following the death of Ella Kissi-Debrah, from Hither Green, near the capital’s busy South Circular Road, the procession will also highlight many cities’ problem with childhood deaths from asthma.

PhotoJulia Hawkins/Flickr

This article was amended to show that transport is now the largest source of UK greenhouse gas emissions

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