Wandsworth cyclists gather for climate protest

Cyclists rode around their borough on Saturday to highlight what they see as town hall failings in addressing its declared climate emergency.

Extinction Rebellion protesters on bikes left Wandsworth Town Hall on the ‘Fail Trail’ ride.

They were joined by two Wandsworth councillors, including Jo Rigby, Labour’s lead for active travel.

She said: “Wandsworth ranks just behind Hackney and Hammersmith as having the third largest number of people who cycle – 30 per cent of residents cycle once a month.

“This drops to single figures for cycling daily. What a massive opportunity exists for modal switch.

“Bike storage remains a key barrier to increasing journeys by bike. Wandsworth needs to review the current process of awarding bike storage.”

Also at the Town Hall, Fergal McEntee talked about the need to address the flooding risk in Wandsworth and the risk of extreme weather events.

Susan Lofthouse, of the Battersea Park Action Group, talked about Wandsworth council’s ‘pay-to play’ approach, first seen in Battersea Park and now with Tooting Common, where it has fenced off part of the common to lease it to a private company for pay-to-play use.

Riders pedalled to the Recycling Centre where Glyn Goodwin spoke
about the need for better recycling – Wandsworth currently ranks 345th out of 350 councils – and the lack of food waste collection.

The ride ended at Tooting Common at 2pm, where the people’s assembly on climate and race took place.

The same day there was a ‘community conversation’ about racism and climate change.

People gathered on Tooting Common for a People’s Assembly, co-hosted by Wandsworth Extinction Rebellion and Wandsworth Stand Up to Racism.

Local air pollution activist David Smith, of Little Ninja, drew attention to the high levels of air pollution experienced by people living on main roads, often the poorest, often of BAME origin.

The council declared a climate emergency in July 2019.

A Wandsworth council spokesman said: “The council is fully committed to playing a decisive role in tackling climate change and has set a target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030 and carbon zero by 2050.

“Meeting these ambitious targets will make Wandsworth inner London’s greenest borough and we are determined to achieve that goal.

“We are a listening council and welcome all comments and suggestions that are constructive and objective.”

Pictured top: Riders gather for the protest cycle


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