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Stop! Extinction Rebellion brings Finchley Road traffic to a halt

'It breaks my heart that the playground and school is so horribly polluted'

14 February, 2020 — By Tom Foot

CAMPAIGNERS who say there is just 10 years left to avert a global environment disaster blocked traffic in Finchley Road.

Around 50 people joined Camden Extinction Rebellion (XR) in a peaceful protest against illegal road pollution levels near Camden primary schools. Banners were unfurled at the junction, between Trinity Walk and Waitrose, for 10 minutes and a civil “disc-obedience” dance routine was performed in front of cars.

Jack Ferris, a member of Camden XR, said: “We are trying to show people how this is affecting you all, right here in Finchley Road. It constantly has got traffic jams all day. It is one of 100 per cent of roads in Camden that have illegal levels of pollution.”

Monday’s protest was the first of a wave of events in Camden ahead of international action planned this spring.

Mr Ferris said: “We went to Finchley Road because it borders onto a primary school. Air pollution can have a really big affect on lungs. The school can’t help this, they have to let kids out to play. What we are saying is there needs to be more regulations, or better incentives or investments in infrastructure.”

He added: “We also wanted to highlight that anyone can be a rebel. You don’t have to be powerless in the face of the climate emergency. If you want to make real changes come together. Since I joined, I felt more empowered and less anxious about it [environmental disaster].”

XR is the group which organised two major protests last year that shut down parts of central London for several days with sit-ins.

Hundreds of protesters have been convicted of breaking road traffic orders as a result. Camden Council has declared a climate emergency and has agreed to have better environmental aspirations following lobbying by XR and other groups last year.

Another member, Sarah Gunton, said: “It breaks my heart that the playground and school is so horribly polluted. Of all the greatest offences, to me it is that spot.”

Camden XR meets ­fortnightly in the Primrose Hill Community Centre, Wednesdays, from 6-7pm.


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