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Updated: 43 min 40 sec ago

Building new roads just creates more traffic. Here’s the proof.

Wed, 2020-10-14 12:25

A lot of us have spent more time than we’d like stuck in traffic. The thought of new or wider roads might come to mind as a solution. But building more roads won’t help us get around quicker, and instead of cutting congestion, it increases traffic. Here’s how:

New roads encourage more people to drive

Building new roads makes driving easier and more attractive, encouraging people to drive further and more often. People travel longer distances just because a new road exists.

Imagine it takes us 20 minutes to drive from home to our nearest high street. A new road gets built, which means we can get to the out-of-town supermarket in 15 minutes due to less traffic, despite it being further away. We get in the habit of shopping there, and the reduced travel time encourages people on our street to start driving there too. Then, a couple more people on the next street do the same, and even more on the next street.

Very quickly, the drive to the supermarket takes just as long as it ever did. And we’ve added more lethal, planet heating pollution to the air – right when we need to be reducing it.

It’s called ‘induced traffic’, and it’s a real problem

When people start driving further and more often because of new roads, it’s called ‘induced’ traffic. It’s nothing new – transport experts have seen this happen for decades – since World War 2.

One more lane will fix it….

— Enlargeyournerd (@Enlargeyournerd) December 6, 2019

Studies have shown throughout the years – like this one – that new roads don’t ease congestion, but make it worse, because the ‘induced’ traffic fills up all of the new road space and spills over onto the rest of the road network.

Most recently, research on British road schemes from Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) proved that traffic on average grew 47% more than background levels, with one scheme more than doubling traffic within 20 years.

A few examples of failed road schemes M25 motorway around London

The most famous example of induced traffic, and a road scheme that backfired. Two months before the motorway opened in 1986, the government had already announced plans to widen some sections. Within 7 years there was more than twice as much traffic on the M25 as the government had planned for.

A34 Newbury Bypass

This road, running from the Midlands to the south coast, opened in 1998. Predicted traffic levels for 2010 in Newbury were already reached by 2003 – and that traffic had increased by almost 50% in that period. The building of this road also led to the destruction of hundreds of acres of woodland, which sparked mass protests.

A46 Newark-Lincoln

This road is part of a much longer one, between Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire. Traffic was much greater than predicted since the project was completed. In 2008, traffic flows at the northern end were 35% higher than predicted levels and the growth in traffic was at least three times greater than the averages in both counties.

A120 Stansted to Braintree

This new dual carriageway running from Stansted Airport to the town of Braintree in Essex was completed in 2004. It led to a large increase in traffic, with knock-on consequences for the rest of the road network. Traffic flows in the corridor increased by a whopping 80%.

All of this evidence says that building new roads will make traffic and congestion much worse – yet the government is still planning on spending billions building new roads. This is a very, very bad idea.

Investing in fair, sustainable and affordable transport options is a better idea

If instead of wasting money building new roads, the government were to make it easier for people to get about without their cars, we would see less traffic across the UK, in turn reducing pollution, congestion and harmful greenhouse gases.

This means investing in more walking and cycling routes to enable more people to travel this way – for example councils could close residential streets to through-traffic, making it harder for people to drive but easier to walk and cycle.

It also means investing in public transport – for example making trains cleaner, cheaper and more efficient – so people can find it more convenient than driving.

Tell the government you want better transport options, not more roads

Do you want a better transport system that means you won’t be stuck in traffic as often? Sign the petition to push the government for better public transport, safe walking and cycling, well-maintained roads and cleaner air for everyone.

The post Building new roads just creates more traffic. Here’s the proof. appeared first on Greenpeace UK.

Categories: Activist News

Greenpeace stops supertrawler fishing in UK marine protected area

Tue, 2020-10-13 09:35

Greenpeace activists have stopped a supertrawler from fishing in a UK protected area. The 117m long supertrawler, Helen Mary, was caught by the Greenpeace ship Esperanza fishing in the Central Fladen protected area, east of Scotland. 

The Helen Mary was detained at sea by Marine Scotland on suspected fishery offences in 2019 [1]. This investigation is ongoing. It is also suspected of fisheries offences in West Africa [2]. It has been fishing inside and around the Central Fladen protected area since early 11.10.2020.

Photo and video is available here.

The activists first informed the supertrawler’s skipper that his vessel was fishing in a protected area. The activists then requested that the supertrawler stop fishing in the protected area. When this request was refused, climbers boarded the vessel from the Esperanza and dropped a banner reading “Ban supertrawlers now”. Greenpeace activists then approached with fishing deterrents to place in the supertrawler’s nets, at which point Helen Mary was forced to leave the protected area [tracking data available on request].

This comes after the government voted down an amendment to the Fisheries Bill which would have committed them to banning supertrawlers from protected areas after Britain leaves the Common Fisheries Policy at the start of 2021. 

Chris Thorne, a Greenpeace UK oceans campaigner on board Esperanza, said:
“Supertrawlers have no place in our protected areas. What use is a protected area, when the highest intensity industrial fishing vessels are allowed to operate inside it? Regardless of whether a protected area protects the seabed, or marine life like porpoises which are directly threatened by supertrawlers, the operations of a supertrawler in a supposedly protected area make a mockery of the word protected.

“Every year since 2016, supertrawlers have doubled the time they’ve spent fishing in our protected areas. Our government refuses to act, so we’ve been forced to step in. We have stopped this destructive industrial vessel from fishing in one of our protected areas for as long as we can. We can’t stop it permanently, that’s up to our Government. They could announce a ban on destructive industrial vessels fishing in our protected areas tomorrow. They must act.”

Greenpeace investigations have revealed that supertrawlers doubled their time spent fishing in UK protected areas every year since 2017. So far in 2020, Supertrawlers have already spent more than 5590 hours fishing in UK protected areas [3], equivalent to 232 entire days fishing time. Supertrawlers like the Helen Mary are the highest intensity fishing vessels, capable of catching hundreds of tonnes of fish each day using nets up to a mile long.

4 in 5 members of the UK public from across the political spectrum want supertrawlers banned from fishing in protected areas [4]. Over 80 MPs from all political parties have written to the Environment Secretary, George Eustice, calling on him to ban supertrawlers from protected areas [5].

The Central Fladen protected area protects the seabed. There is no long term condition monitoring in this protected area to determine its progress towards conservation targets. Although the seabed may escape damage by the supertrawler, which targets midwater species, the intensity with which it fishes, catching hundreds of tonnes of fish each day will impact the entire marine ecosystem.

Fully protected marine areas free from destructive fishing have been proven to significantly boost fish stocks both inside and outside the protected area. 

Labour will table another amendment to the Fisheries Bill this afternoon which would commit the Government to banning supertrawlers from fishing in UK protected areas after Britain leaves the Common Fisheries Policy.

Greenpeace is calling for all offshore marine protected areas to be put off-limits to industrial fishing, beginning with the highest impact vessels like supertrawlers and bottom trawlers. This would make good on the Government’s promise to properly protect Britain’s seas after our departure from the Common Fisheries Policy. 


Contact: Greenpeace UK Press Office – [email protected] or 07500 866 860








The post Greenpeace stops supertrawler fishing in UK marine protected area appeared first on Greenpeace UK.

Categories: Activist News

What if we funded transport like it really matters?

Thu, 2020-10-08 11:46

Have you ever waited in the rain for a bus that never arrived? Ever had a train cancelled on you at the last minute? Or tried to cycle somewhere but didn’t feel safe on the road?

If you live in the UK, the answer is probably yes. Our transport system – the way we all get from A to B for work, shopping or seeing the people we care about – isn’t working as it should. Many people lack access regular public transport or decent cycle paths, particularly outside of our largest towns and cities. Meanwhile, left with no other option, more people are getting in their cars, making our roads more congested.

This isn’t just unfair, it’s a hazard to our health and our environment. Road transport contributes  a third of all the UK’s carbon emissions and is a major cause of poor air quality.

Right now our lives are shifting because of Covid, but we’re always going to need greener transport options. We also know that right now the government is deciding how the UK economy recovers from the pandemic.

If we’re serious about a green recovery then we need to see massive investment in sustainable transport. But instead, the government is planning to spend billions building new roads.

After crunching the numbers, Greenpeace is calling for £10 billion more every year to transform our transport system. Here’s how that kind of investment would change things for the better:

Make transport more affordable and accessible for everyone

Lack of access to transport has the harshest impacts on the people who rely on it the most. It leaves elderly and young people more isolated, and makes job hunting much harder for people looking for work.

65% of the lowest income households in the UK do not own a car. But in many places the lack of alternatives makes it harder to access education, work and other essential services. £3bn a year could provide free bus travel for people on the lowest incomes.

Create thousands of green jobs

The Trade Union Congress has estimated that investing in sustainable transport- like building new train lines, cycle paths and space for walking- could create 179,000 new jobs over the next two years, spread all over the country. These green jobs will be essential for rebuilding our economy after the coronavirus, while also reducing pollution and carbon emissions.

That’s why we’re asking for £5.5bn a year to expand and improve the rail network, and £6 billion over the next five years to increase walking and cycling.

Breathe life back into neglected communities

Having access to good transport in the UK is a postcode lottery. For example, more than half of small towns in the South West and North East of England have such bad transport links that they’re considered to be ‘transport deserts’, where people have to rely on their cars to get around, if they own one at all.

Sustainable transport can connect people to their town centre and revitalize high streets, rather than driving to out-of-town retail parks. £1.3bn a year could restore the bus routes that have been cut since 2014 and get us started on adding new routes where they’re needed.

Take action

To put pressure on the government to reprioritise their spending, we must show them that people want better transport options, instead of more roads and pollution.

Sign the petition to add your voice

The post What if we funded transport like it really matters? appeared first on Greenpeace UK.

Categories: Activist News

Artist Fiona Banner: ‘Why I delivered a 1.25 ton boulder sculpture to the government’

Mon, 2020-10-05 16:27

This week Greenpeace activists and I dropped a 1.25 ton Full Stop sculpture onto the doorstep of the Department of Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra) in support of Greenpeace’s Dogger Bank boulder barrier. 

It is called Klang, from the font of the same name, and it’s a bit of a klanger. 

On Monday morning, it was blocking the entrance of the Home Office where Defra is housed; a message to the Environment Secretary George Eustice, calling out his failure to protect our ocean environment.  

We are fed up with the puffed up rhetoric of this government. This is to remind them that when words become meaningless, democracy dies.

The post Artist Fiona Banner: ‘Why I delivered a 1.25 ton boulder sculpture to the government’ appeared first on Greenpeace UK.

Categories: Activist News

Are vegans and vegetarians destroying the planet?

Thu, 2020-10-01 15:31

The number of people in the UK going vegan or vegetarian has been increasing massively over the last few years. According to the Vegan Society, the number of vegans in the UK quadrupled between 2014 and 2019. Maybe they know something others don’t?

As more and more people go meat-free, one aspect of a vegan and vegetarian diet has caused a lot of controversy: soya.

Since the 1950s, global soybean production has increased 15 times over. Massive areas of South American forests are being burnt and cut down to make way for soya plantations. This is having a terrible impact on the people and animals that call these forests home.

Plant eaters or planet eaters?

Growing soya in this way, and at such a massive scale, is not sustainable. But who’s eating it all?

Some point the finger at vegans and vegetarians. All that soya in tofu, soya burgers, soya milk must be the reason forests are being destroyed? Who else eats that much soya right?

Wrong. Most of the world’s soya is grown for the meat industry. Only 6% of the soya grown globally is eaten by humans. 90% of all soya is fed to chickens, pigs and cows. (The rest is used for things like pet food and biofuels.)

Over the past 50 years, meat production has more than quadrupled. Today, more than half the mammals on the planet are livestock, and the impact of this shift has been enormous. Grazing and feeding these animals takes up an area of land the size of North, Central and South America combined, and the industry produces nearly a sixth of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Previously forested land that’s been cleared for farming and agriculture in Chaco Province, Argentina © Martin Katz / Greenpeace

Despite this, meat and dairy still only provide a small part of the world’s protein and calories, compared to plants.

Of course food is about much more than just calories. But when there’s so much at stake, we have to start thinking about how to get the most out of what we have. More land and resources used to produce food means less space for wildlife to thrive. If meat and dairy consumption drastically fell worldwide, we could turn large areas back to nature.

Farmers deserve a mention too because they are key to this transition and must not be left behind. Companies and governments should support farmers to transition to more sustainable farming methods – ones that are mostly plant based. Retraining farmers in land management and conservation is another way to move forward. Both should provide good livelihoods for farmers and protect the planet and our health.

How do we fix it?

I know, it’s a lot to take in. Meat has been such a big part of many people’s diets for decades now. The truth is though, it hasn’t always been this way, and to have a planet that we can live happily on for generations to come we need to change the way we think about food. And that means drastically reducing the amount of meat we eat.

But it’s not just down to me and you. The industrial meat industry is at the heart of this problem. Without knowing, millions of people in the UK currently have deforestation on their plates. Supermarkets and food companies need to find ways to reduce the amount of meat they sell over time, and prioritise making fruit, vegetables and plant-based alternatives appealing and affordable so they’re accessible to everyone.

Over 167,000 people are calling on Tesco – as the UK supermarket that sells the most meat – to take the lead. The Greenpeace petition demands that they stop buying from companies linked to forest destruction, and that they halve sales of meat by 2025. Ultimately, they need to phase out industrially-produced meat entirely. You can add your voice and put pressure on Tesco here.

Help spread the word

So as it turns out, vegans and veggies eating soya burgers aren’t really responsible for destroying forests. The amount of soya they’re eating is tiny compared to the amount that’s fed to chickens, pigs, and cows being grown for meat and dairy. If everyone on Earth swapped meat for soya burgers, the Amazon and other forests would still be in much better shape than they are today.

Until recently, the industrial meat industry has managed to stay relatively hidden from the public eye. That time is over, and you can help by sharing this info with your friends and family. And the next time hear someone saying “it’s all those vegans and vegetarians destroying the planet”, show them this blog.

The post Are vegans and vegetarians destroying the planet? appeared first on Greenpeace UK.

Categories: Activist News

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