Protesters from Extinction Rebellion have gathered outside City Hall this evening to launch the protest, which asking Londoners to not pay 22% of one month’s council tax – the portion that goes to the Greater London Authority.
The climate campaigners are demanding a stop to all projects they say are inconsistent with the mayor’s declaration of a climate emergency, including the tunnel between the Greenwich Peninsula and Royal Docks, a concrete factory next to the Olympic Park and an incinerator in Edmonton.
If 2,700 people go ahead with the protest, and Khan does not cancel the projects, the money will be redirected into a “tax rebellion fund”, to finance a citizens’ assembly which would rewrite the mayor’s London Plan into an Emergency London Plan, “putting biodiversity, climate change resilience, and human wellbeing at the forefront of a strategy to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025”.
Delighted to have spoken at the Extinction Rebellion action outside City Hall against crazy Silvertown Tunnel pic.twitter.com/auXATWrJKl
— Christian Wolmar (@christianwolmar) July 18, 2019
One of the protesters, Emma Willis, said: “The GLA is using our money to fund construction, waste and transport projects that are making the climate crisis worse instead of better.
“The position of the Tax Rebellion is simple: we think that they should be spending our cash educating us – and that means a truly representative cross section of society not just the politically engaged – on the issues we are facing; enabling us to react to those issues swiftly and decisively with a legitimate public mandate so we can stop wasting time and get on with transforming this city into a world leader in biodiversity rehabilitation, carbon reduction policy and projects.”
The protest outside City Hall is part of a week of demonstrations in UK cities. Earlier this week, activists blocked the entrance to a concrete yard in Bow due to play a role in the construction of the Silvertown Tunnel, which is due to open in 2025.
Activists have held two previous protests about the tunnel outside City Hall. Khan pledged to review the scheme when he took office in 2016, but swung his weight behind the £1bn road scheme within five weeks of becoming mayor.
Greenwich Council has long supported the controversial tunnel, and even ran a campaign for its construction. But at last night’s full council meeting, Denise Scott-McDonald, the cabinet member for transport and air quality, resisted detailed questioning on the scheme, instead insisting that residents put their questions to Transport for London.
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