Extinction Rebellion Havering and Havering Cyclists take part in protest ride to Romford Town Hall
PUBLISHED: 13:05 25 August 2020 | UPDATED: 13:05 25 August 2020
Extinction Rebellion Havering and Havering Cyclists continued their campaign for better cycling networks in the borough with a protest ride at the weekend.
On Saturday (August 22) cyclists from both groups departed from Harrow Lodge, riding to Romford Town Hall where they proceeded to deliver a second letter to Havering Council Leader Cllr Damian White.
The first letter — sent in early July — urged the leader to “take some bold decisions” to improve the borough’s cycling infrastructure.
It read: “We accept that the opportunities for segregated cycle lanes within our borough are limited to the widest of our main roads, so we will also need a number of selected road closures with clear signage to create corridors that will be safe and pleasant for people to use.”
The protest — attended by 50-plus people — came as a result of both groups feeling dissatisfied with a perceived lack of action in the time since.
Of the ride, Extinction Rebellion’s Alice Browne said: “We were a motley group of people of all ages and cycling abilities, from the regular cyclists to the people who have put cycling aside due to the risks on our roads.”
With Havering Cyclists’ Jeff Stafford leading the way to “blaring music”, protestors cycled jovially to meet a smaller second group at the midpoint of Romford’s Eastern Road.
From there the expanded group made their way to the town hall, where they were greeted by more representatives from Extinction Rebellion Havering, alongside local councillors.
Amongst those attending were Cranham ward councillor Cllr Gillian Ford, who took part in the ride; Cllr Keith Darvill from the Heaton ward; Cllrs Brian Eagling and Darren Wise from Harold Wood; and Cllr Jan Sargant from Gooshays.
Both groups spoke to urge council action on the borough’s cycling infrastructure, emphasising that safer networks will encourage more people to ride, and reduce carbon emissions from traffic in the process.
Such action must form part of Havering’s overall response to the “climate and ecological emergency”, they added.
On this campaign, Cllr Osman Dervish, cabinet member for environment, said: “The council is working hard to look at various options to improve cycling infrastructure and safety within the borough.
“We are listening to residents, we want to make the right decision that keeps everyone safe.”
Buoyed by the success of the protest, Alice said it’s now a waiting game “to see what action the council will put in place for cycling”, adding that further action is planned for Car Free Day on September 22.
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