• Extinction Rebellion Edinburgh protests new roadbuilding in Edinburgh at Sheriffhall consultation event.

On Thursday 19 December 2019 at 5pm, members of Extinction Rebellion Edinburgh staged a protest at Transport Scotland’s consultation event at the Sheriffhall Park and Ride on the proposed spending of £120m on a new flyover at Sheriffhall Roundabout.

The protestors entered the consultation with a banner stating ‘more roads, more traffic, more emissions’, repeating the phrase ‘This is a climate emergency, we must act now’.

The Scottish Government declared a climate emergency this year, but is planning to go ahead with this proposal from 2008. Evidence consistently shows that more roads lead to more traffic and ultimately more pollution [1].

At a time when we must look seriously at how transport should look like in a decarbonised world, it is completely unacceptable that the Scottish Government is planning to further our reliance on unsustainable modes.

Chris Russell, 32, English Teacher: “I decided to get involved in this action because I feel really angry and frustrated that this project is so out-of-step with the government’s policies on climate action. Edinburgh is crying out for serious investment in active and public transport and this money could make a huge difference. The Scottish Government need to go back to the drawing board and replace this 1970s-inspired ‘City Deal’ with a ‘Green City Deal’, fit to tackle the enormous challenges we face.”

The Committee on Climate Change reported that emissions from transport are continuing to rise in Scotland, with a lack of any shift away from cars towards sustainable transport in the last ten years [2]. This is a completely unacceptable response to the Scottish Government’s declared Climate Emergency.

This £120m spend is equivalent to around £150 for every man, woman and child in the city. This money could be spent on transformative actions to decarbonise transport, which currently accounts for over a third of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions [2].

Extinction Rebellion Scotland has three demands for Transport Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon MSP (First Minister), Michael Matheson MSP (Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity in the Scottish Government) and The Edinburgh and South East of Scotland City Region Deal Joint Committee, including its leader, Adam McVey.

1. Tell the truth about the climate and ecological crisis and reverse any inconsistent policies; 
2. Act Now and commit to reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2025; 
3. Trust ourselves: create a Climate Citizens Assembly to decide what needs to be done.