Saturday November 20th saw Just Transition Wakefield members and supporting trade unions meet with local residents at the Newton Bar site, soon destined to be devastated to build a new, extra-large, extra-pointless roundabout. Thank you to Wakefield NEU and Leeds/Wakefield Unite Community.
We are calling for the following actions:
1. WYCA and Wakefield Council to cancel the Newton Bar roundabout scheme;
2. WYCA to cover any contractor costs from the £9.5 million project budget, and
3. WYCA to work with the council, the community and experts like SUSTRANS to design bus priority measures and separate pedestrian and cycling provision through the junction and on into the city centre.
4. WYCA to review EVERY road scheme in West Yorkshire against their Carbon Emissions Reduction Pathways study, so that only those that will lead to overall emissions reductions and lead to modal shift from cars to sustainable alternatives get the go ahead.
Stuart from Just Transition Wakefield said “We are in combined climate and ecological emergencies. Part of the solution is to reduce traffic, encouraging people to shift to more sustainable public and active transport, yet here we are at the end of 2021, after COP26, still fighting 20th century battles. We need action and policy to work together to tackle these twin crises. Instead we are still shouting to public bodies to “Mind the gap!”.”
Here are some thoughts by group members and local residents about the scheme.
It is clear that local people most affected by this scheme knew little if anything about it. The trees under threat are mature, effective carbon capturing machines and hosts to an established ecosystem. They already soak up pollution from the roads and provide a “Green Welcome” into the city. We have not yet met anyone who thinks this is a good idea.
Stuart finished by saying “This cannot be the last autumn for these trees. We all know that we need to U-turn on some historic policies if we are to give nature and humanity a future. We know that people across the world are already suffering the ravages of climate breakdown. This scheme is the opportunity that our council and the combined authority need to draw a line in the sand and become part of the solution not part of the problem.”