Extinction Rebellion activists demand council action over air pollution in Northampton which is 'killing our children'

"An estimated 120 Northamptonians die every year as a result of breathing toxic air in the town. Our councils and government have a duty to protect us - we demand action."

Monday, 14th June 2021, 4:22 pm
Updated Monday, 14th June 2021, 4:24 pm

Extinction Rebellion activists put gas masks over an iconic Northampton statue of children to highlight the dangers of air pollution in the town and how it is 'killing our children'.

The environmentalist group staged a small protest in Abington Street on Saturday (June 12) and are now demanding that West Northamptonshire Council do more to tackle the 'toxic air' issue in the town.

A XR spokesperson said: "We are a non-violent direct action group, dedicated to highlighting the destruction of our environment by corruption and negligence within government.

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Extinction Rebellion put up posters around the iconic statue in Abington Street
Extinction Rebellion put up posters around the iconic statue in Abington Street

"Sadly, this [air pollution] is not just an issue in Westminster - this is right here on our doorsteps and it is killing our children.

"[The protest was] to highlight the negligence of our local authorities in meeting their targets, and the resulting toxic air that our children are breathing.

"A coroner made legal history in December by ruling that London’s air pollution was a cause of death of nine-year-old girl Ella Kissi- Debrah.

"An estimated 120 Northamptonians die every year as a result of breathing toxic air in the town. Our councils and government have a duty to protect us - we demand action."

XR put gas masks on the children running on a shoe statue in Abington Street to highlight the issue of air pollution in the town

The annual health cost of poor air quality in the UK is estimated to be £16 billion, according to a 2020 report by the former Northampton Borough Council.

The report also says that the main source of air pollution in the Northampton is road traffic emissions from vehicles on major roads, notably the M1, A43, A45, A4500, A5101 and A5123

The XR spokesperson added: "The same report refers to the development and implementation of the council’s low emissions strategy as having 'lengthy timescales' and a 'slow uptake of core principles', as well as 'lacking expertise and resources to progress' despite their commitment to solve local air quality issues in 2017.

"Join us by emailing your councillors and MPs this Clean Air Day - June 17."

XR is urging members of the public to contact their local MP and councillors

West Northamptonshire Council has been contacted for comment.

XR is urging members of the public to contact their local MP and councillors