Extinction Rebellion plans socially-distanced march in Luton against felling of trees on Vauxhall Way

Extinction Rebellion has announced they will march in Luton on Saturday against the proposed felling of trees along Vauxhall Way.

By Stewart Carr
Thursday, 30th July 2020, 11:39 am
Updated Thursday, 30th July 2020, 12:02 pm

The environmental campaign group is joining forces with Trees4Luton in support of the ‘Save Vauxhall Way Trees’ campaign, to prevent the felling of a mile-and-a-half of roadside woodland.

The tree cutting measures are part of Luton Borough Council's proposals to transform Vauxhall Way into a dual-carriageway (see here for the latest update).

The council insists the plans are necessary to future-proof the town from congestion, with predicted housing growth east of Luton.

Vauxhall Way

At 2pm on Saturday, August 1, campaigners will meet at Ashcroft Recreational Park, where they conduct a socially-distanced march while wearing face masks to be as "Covid-19 safe as possible".

Extinction Rebellion member Joanne Goodchild said: “This beautiful green corridor does so much for local wildlife, as well as the physical and mental well-being of people.

“Its destruction would be a potent symbol of Luton Council’s disregard for its responsibility to the environment.

"The whole world is aiming for a green recovery from coronavirus, but Luton Council lack the initiative to join in."

David Mansfield, founder of Trees4Luton, added: “[We] have been planting trees in schools to mitigate our toxic air pollution, the worst in the country.

“So, it was especially disheartening to learn of this plan. Road widening does not relieve congestion permanently but invites more cars to the area and returns you to square one. The investment should instead go towards improved public transport and cycling infrastructure for the town, not more space for cars.”

A Luton Borough Council spokesman said: "The aim of the current scheme is to help decarbonise transport by improving the transport links on the East of Luton, providing new cycling and walking facilities and improve the traffic flows.

"The proposed scheme will also provide a dedicated traffic lane for electric vehicles including buses in the future. This will all be subject to a thorough public consultation.

"The trees were removed to create swales to capture flood water, and to create a biodiverse rich mixture of planting to enhance the environment in this area, together with some replacement semi mature tree planting.

"It fits with the climate change declaration and any further development of schemes will be based on the need to encourage active travel and more sustainable modes of travel."