Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Environmentalists Quick to Apologise for Cycling Go-Slow through City Centre

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Environmentalists Quick to Apologise for Cycling Go-Slow through City Centre

Article excerpt

Byline: SONIA SHARMA Reporter sonia.sharma@reachplc.co.uk

IT was perhaps a case of "sorry, not sorry" after Extinction Rebellion's slow cycle protest once against brought rush-hour traffic in Newcastle to a crawl.

The group apologised for causing delays, but insisted a looming climate "emergency" forced them into action.

"Being a little bit late for work is a minor problem compared to the threat we are facing," said spokesman Nick Morphet.

However, the nature of yesterday's protest drew a mixed response on Twitter. Extinction Rebellion (XR) members carried placards and shouting slogans like "global warming, global warming, pay attention" and "air pollution has got to go".

The cyclists started at Newcastle Racecourse at 7.15am and were joined by more protesters at Regent Centre. They then made their way along Gosforth high street and into Newcastle city centre, eventually stopping outside the Civic Centre at around 8.45am.

Along the way, drivers suffered disruption as traffic slowed down behind the group, especially on Gosforth high street where the cyclists took up an entire lane.

Traffic was also temporarily stopped at a roundabout to let the cyclists pass through.

The protesters apologised for the inconvenience caused and emphasised the importance of their campaign.

But Mr Morphet said: "We are facing a climate emergency and we need central and local government to help us deal with the emergency.

"There are far too many cars on the roads. The transport sector is responsible for 26% of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions. We need Government help to get out of our cars, to get on our bikes, to walk, to use public transport.

"But Newcastle City Council aren't doing enough to improve the cycling infrastructure to help people leave their cars at home.

"We apologise for the inconvenience that we've caused but we felt obliged to do it. …

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