Coventry climate change protest features 168 pairs of shoes


, Coventry climate change protest features 168 pairs of shoesImage copyright
Benjamin Russell

Image caption

The protest was held outside Coventry Transport Museum on Sunday afternoon

More than 160 pairs of shoes representing pollution-related deaths have been placed outside a transport museum by climate change activists.

Extinction Rebellion Coventry hoped placing 168 pairs at the city’s museum earlier to mark each local death would “give a sense of the tragedy”.

The government said air pollution had reduced significantly since 2010.

The council said it was “absolutely committed” to the cause and has initiatives in place.

An estimated 168 deaths per year in Coventry were linked to exposure to fine particulate matter, the most dangerous source of air pollution, 2014 figures from Public Health England stated.

The city avoided a government-imposed Clean Air Zone after the council had its alternative measures to reduce nitrogen dioxide accepted in February, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Image copyright
Benjamin Russell

Image caption

More than 20 people were outside the museum earlier, with organisers saying the protest was designed to be a visual spectacle for social media purposes

Founder of the city’s branch of Extinction Rebellion Rachel Gering-Hasthorpe said: “The introduction of a cycling route [in Coundon] is a good one but it does not go far enough.”

Campaigner Merle Gering criticised Coventry’s air pollution plans as “very minimal”, fearing proposals to open up Upper Hill Street to create a link to the ring road simply “spreads the bad fumes around”.

Image copyright
Benjamin Russell

Image caption

Rachel Gering-Hasthorpe said plans were “not enough”

The council cited current initiatives such as the green business programme to provide funding for renewable energy; a commitment to “safeguard” green spaces; as well as plans for a Very Light Rail system.

Cabinet member for jobs and regeneration Jim O’Boyle said its plans include more electric vehicle charging points, new electric taxis and buses and two new cycling routes in Coundon and Binley Road.

A Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs spokesman said “urgent action” was being taken to lower air pollution further through its £3.6bn plans to tackle pollution.  

Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Send your story ideas to: newsonline.westmidlands@bbc.co.uk





BBC News