Cars, trees and the Climate Emergency

November 17, 2021

We are constantly faced with challenging questions. The competing pressure between roads and nature is one such challenge.

The photographs in this article have all been taken on the old Newton Bar Planning Department site, currently scheduled to be flattened to expand the roundabout at Newton Bar. This destruction is imminent.

Site sign - work starts January
Work starts January

This scheme is designed to increase traffic flow in and out of the city. In other words, it is to encourage long distance motorway commuting. However, data analysis is clear that traffic levels have hardly changed in the last 20 years making this at best a white elephant and a waste of £9.5 million.

More importantly, we are in a double emergency: the evidence from this summer alone shows that the climate emergency is clearly running out of control, while the ecological emergency threatens our natural life support systems.

Just Transition Wakefield is calling on both West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) and Wakefield Council to cancel this scheme, and redirect the budget to safety improvements for pedestrians and cyclists, and enhanced bus lanes to speed up public transport.

Stuart Boothman said “This is a WYCA scheme, and we are demanding that the scheme is cancelled by the combined authority, so that the council is not left with contractor costs. We are also demanding that the project fund is redirected to the improvements that are actually needed, public and active transport, whilst protecting the amazing mature habitat on the site.”

Stuart went on to say “At least 107 mature trees are scheduled to be destroyed, releasing tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere and stopping them capturing carbon. It will be decades before any new trees planted capture the same amount of carbon as these mature ones. On top of that, is the loss of habitat, the pollution screening – all this will be lost.”

path through the trees
path through the trees

Stuart said “We welcome that the councillors are talking to us and taking the matter seriously, but time is short. We really need WYCA to step up. This is just one scheme. The combined authority has more in the pipeline – we are also calling on WYCA to halt ALL road schemes until they have been assessed against the Carbon Emissions Reduction Pathway criteria that they have developed.”

If you would like to join the Just Transport Group, use the “Get Involved” link at the top of the page. Also visit our transport page where you can add your voice to ours by writing to WYCA about their road schemes – just follow the QR code on the page.

Press and media can contact us using the “Get Involved” button. We are always happy to talk.

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