High levels of air pollution in Lewisham prompted Extinction Rebellion to mount a swarm demonstration to stop the traffic on Friday, 14th June.

Eco activists, school children, their parents and supporters blocked the South Circular Road handing out a flyer apologising for the disruption but calling for action now, saying:

“Lewisham currently experiences six times the level of air pollution recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Lewisham has committed to zero Carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and road traffic is the biggest cause of greenhouse gases in the UK.

With 11 years left to phase out our reliance on fossil fuels, we must act now to persuade Lewisham Council and the UK Government to put policies in place to give  future generations hope and survival.”


Signs were held in memory of Ella Kissi-Debrah aged 9 who lived in Hither Green and died of a fatal asthma attack. A fresh inquest into the causes of her death was ordered by the High Court on 2nd May.

One of the grounds for calling a fresh inquest was that permitting illegal levels of air pollution was a potential breach of human rights under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights – which protects the right to life. The court accepted new evidence including that based on a report by Professor Stephen Holgate that is reported to state that: ‘Unlawful levels of air pollution contributed to the cause and seriousness of Ella’s asthma in a way that greatly compromised her quality of life’.

Lewisham Council has declared a ‘Climate Emergency’ unanimously agreeing that ” We recognise that a changing climate will have severe and enduring social, economic
and environmental implications, and that tackling climate change is an issue of inequality as the greatest impact will be on the most vulnerable and those least able to protect themselves.”

At the same meeting it was reported to the Council that a community garden in Deptford, Tidemill Garden had been cleared.


More media coverage:

Evening Standard here

The Guardian here

i news here

Newsshopper here

ITV News here


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