Brighton Magazine

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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Monday 28 September 2020

Moving Tribute Takes Big Steps To Symbolise Those Killed Or Injured By Road Traffic In Brighton

Environmental activists placed more than two-hundred pairs of shoes outside Hove Town Hall to symbolise the numbers killed or seriously injured every year in Brighton by air pollution and road traffic accidents.

Around one-hundred-and-fifty people are killed or seriously injured in traffic accidents in Brighton every year, with those walking or cycling are twice as likely killed or seriously injured than people in cars.

Pollution, which is largely produced by vehicle exhausts, kills up to fifty-four people prematurely in Brighton city centre alone, according to research published this year.

The activists, from Extinction Rebellion Brighton, placed the shoes to highlight the urgent need to tackle these problems by reducing car dependency and providing safe active travel infrastructure.

The moving tribute to those impacted by vehicle traffic comes as local councillors prepare to meet to decide whether to keep the temporary cycle lanes on the seafront and Old Shoreham Road.

At the Environment, Transport and Sustainability committee meeting next Tuesday, councillors will also decide whether to use £2.7million of government funding to provide more safe cycle lanes, which could transform the city. 

Dinah Lee's animation 'Which Way to Go?'

The vote hangs in the balance after Labour councillors backtracked on their commitment to building new cycle lanes.

Sophie Broadbent, 42, decided to take part in the symbolic protest out of concern for her children, aged seven and nine.

Sophie, who works as a video producer in Brighton, said: 

"I'd like my children to grow up in a city where they don't have to breathe toxic air or take their lives in their hands every time they ride their bikes. Sadly, that isn't the case.

"Young people in Brighton face a triple threat of accidents, deadly pollution and, on top of that, climate change.

"We know that road vehicles are major emitters of greenhouse gases, contributing roughly a third of all emissions in Brighton and Hove.

"There is no way of dealing with all these problems that does not involve encouraging people out of their cars by providing safe spaces for active travel.

"What we need is political leaders that are prepared to take the hard decisions in the public interest, not be cowed by a vocal minority resistant to change.

"It's time for councillors to step-up and do the right thing by the children of this city."

After placing the shoes, activists held a banners and placards calling for urgent action on climate change, pollution and road traffic accidents.

In 2018, the last year for which data is available, 165 people were killed or seriously injured in Brighton and Hove according to the Department for Transport.

The figures from 2018, the last year for which data is available, show that 54 people cycling and 50 people walking were killed or seriously injured compared to just 26 car drivers.

Research published in the journal of Atmospheric Pollution Research in June found up to 54 people living in the centre of Brighton died prematurely each year as a result of breathing nitrogen dioxide, a product of vehicle exhausts.

by: Mike Cobley


Credit Andy Sturmey

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Credit Helmut Newton

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