Extinction Rebellion & Stop Killing Cyclists to stage symbolic funeral calling for Emergency Autumn Budget

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  • Stop Killing Cyclists and Extinction Rebellion activists will be uniting to hold a symbolic National Funeral for the Unknown Cyclist on Saturday 7 September
  • The protesters are calling for an Ecological & Climate Emergency Autumn Budget with £6 billion to be invested in walking and cycling
  • They will hold a funeral procession with horse-drawn hearses and coffins to represent those who have died due to transport and climate breakdown related causes  
  • The procession will be followed by a mass die-in at the Treasury

At noon on 7th September protesters will meet at Lincoln’s Inn Fields in London to hold a funeral procession that will end with a die-in at the Treasury in Whitehall. The procession will begin at 1pm.

The action calls for the investment of £6 billion per year in a national cycle network. It demands an Ecological & Climate Emergency Autumn Budget, and calls on the new Chancellor to deliver safe cycling measures, and real action on the climate and ecological emergency.

The UK government currently invests 0.04% in cycling. The equivalent of the 20% of the transport budget that the UN says should be invested in cycling and walking is £6 billion. Over £46 billion in fuel duty cuts have already been given to the diesel/petrol industry since 2011. 

The action also calls for the creation of car-free areas. A TfL survey found that 63% of the public believe that roads are too dangerous to cycle. In addition, 28,000 people die prematurely in the UK every year from air-pollution.

The funeral will consist of three horse-drawn hearses carrying three symbolic adult coffins, to represent those who have died from transport and climate breakdown related causes over the last decade. In addition, a small white child’s coffin will represent the over 280,000 children and adults who have died prematurely from air-pollution diseases including asthma.

These include:

  • 1,000 people cycling killed on UK roads
  • 4 million people who have died globally from climate breakdown related causes
  • 240,000 people who died in the UK from diabetes and far more from other inactivity diseases related to lack of cycling exercise due to absence of protected cycle lanes. 

Extinction Rebellion is a climate justice movement calling for the declaration of a climate/ecological emergency, for a zero-carbon economy by 2025 & a citizens’ assembly to agree the fairest & most effective way to achieve this target. Stop Killing Cyclists is a grassroots voluntary cycle campaign formed in 2013 after 6 cyclists were horrifically killed in London in just one month.

Donnachadh McCarthy, co-founder of Stop Killing Cyclists said: “With the Arctic & Amazon on fire and tens of thousands of Britons dying from car pollution, it beggars belief that Chancellor Sajid Javid is proposing more toxic fossil fuel duty cuts. The 2019 budget must be a Climate and Ecological Emergency Budget that includes £6 billion per year for the creation of a national cycling network and the reversal of the toxic fuel duty cuts.”

Alanna O’Byrne, a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion said: “A massive investment in safe-cycle lanes is crucial to protect our kids’ lungs from fossil fuel pollution and crucial in tackling the climate and ecological emergency.”

Notes to editor

  1. Almost 70% of UK journeys are under 5 miles and so are cyclable. https://www.sustrans.org.uk/sites/default/files/documents/guidelines_16.pdf
  2. 33% of all UK domestic carbon emissions now come from transport.  https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/790626/2018-provisional-emissions-statistics-report.pdf
  3. Over £46 billion in fuel duty cuts have already been given to toxic diesel/petrol industry since 2011.
    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/oct/03/theresa-may-pledges-to-freeze-fuel-duty-for-ninth-consecutive-year
  4. 5.4 million people suffer from asthma in the UK. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/oct/03/theresa-may-pledges-to-freeze-fuel-duty-for-ninth-consecutive-year
  5. Transport pollution is a major trigger for asthma. https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/asthma-library/air-pollution-asthma
  6. 4.4 million people in UK are living with Type 2 Diabetes. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/about_us/news/new-stats-people-living-with-diabetes
  7. Physical exercise such as cycling is key element in preventing and managing Type 2 Diabetes. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2992225/
  8. 63% of public in a TfL survey believe that roads are too dangerous to cycle. http://content.tfl.gov.uk/atc-online-autumn-2015-report.pdf
  9. Climate breakdown is already killing more people than terrorism, with UN estimating over 400,000 people dying per annum. https://newrepublic.com/article/121032/map-climate-change-kills-more-people-worldwide-terrorism
  10. Over 28,000 people die prematurely in the UK every year from air-pollution. https://airqualitynews.com/2018/08/22/comeap-updates-estimates-on-uk-air-pollution-deaths/ 

More about Extinction Rebellion:

Extinction Rebellion’s top-line demands:

  • Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  • The government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  • The government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

What emergency? Extinction Rebellion in Numbers

Read the Extinction Rebellion Handbook: This Is Not A Drill #ThisIsNotADrill

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About Rising Up!

Extinction Rebellion is an initiative of the Rising Up! network, which promotes a fundamental change of our political and economic system to one which maximises well-being and minimises harm. Change needs to be nurtured in a culture of reverence, gratitude and inclusion while the tools of civil disobedience and non-violent direct action are used to express our collective power.

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