Extinction Rebellion Hold Green Man Swarm in Roehampton

Protest near Danebury Avenue to highlight air pollution levels

Protestor hold 'Green Man Swarm' on Roehampton Lane
Protestor hold 'Green Man Swarm' on Roehampton Lane.


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Extinction Rebellion Wandsworth held a “Green Man Swarm” at the crossroads of Roehampton Lane and Danebury Avenue this Saturday (2 October). The aim of the protest which started at 11.30am was to draw attention to what the group describes as dangerous and illegal levels of air pollution.

Banners suggested people should “Think Before You Drive” and signs declared the area a “Toxic Air Zone”.

Unlike the Insulate Britain protests held at Wandsworth Bridge the following Monday, a “Green Man Swarm” doesn’t stop any traffic. Protesters move into the road with banners when the “green man” pedestrian light stops the traffic and then move back on to the pavement when the green man goes off.

A similar protest was held by the group on Putney High Street this May.

Earlier this year, the Evening Standard published figures showing that four of London’s ten pollution blackspots were in Wandsworth. On 23 July, Putney High Street was shown to have the second highest level of pollutants in London.

It is estimated that air pollution is responsible for around 36,000 premature deaths annually in the UK. Of these, up to 9,400 are in London, with around 300 in Wandsworth.

On 22 September, the UN released new World Health Organisation (WHO) air pollution guidelines. The guideline safe limit for the most damaging pollution – tiny particles from burning fossil fuels – has been halved. The new limit for nitrogen dioxide (NO2), mainly produced by diesel engines, is now 75% lower. Places that might have been just over the previous legal levels are now more than double the limit. XR Wandsworth are demanding that Wandsworth Council take steps to reduce the level of air pollution to the new legal limits.

Group says it will be holding Wandsworth Council to account over climate change policies

While the Green Man Swarm was going on, XR Wandsworth also had a “pink table” outside the local parade of shops where people were invited to discuss the climate emergency and hear about XR Wandsworth and our Wake Up Wandsworth campaign.

The group says it will be making an assessment of Wandsworth Council’s policies on climate change before the election in May 2022

“We look forward to sharing the Council’s successes – and will not hesitate to share their failures – with the electorate, using local press, social media and any other means necessary to ensure we reach every household in the borough,” says group member Caroline Hartnell.

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October 8, 2021

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