CAMPAIGNERS trying to stop Coventry City Council’s road-widening scheme at Spon End have been told they must leave the site.
The authority has won its bid for a court injunction to stop the demonstrators from obstructing works.
The protesters are opposing plans to make the B4106 from Hearsall Lane to Windsor Street four lanes. The proposal is part of the authority’s Air Quality Action Plan to reduce pollution and prevent the introduction of a congestion charge similar to London, Birmingham and other cities.
But campaigners say as well as impacting on residents’ lives by bringing traffic closer to their homes the ‘quick fix’ will ‘simply move air pollution around’ rather than solving the issue.
Protestors climbed trees and set up camp, leading to work being temporarily suspended.
The council said the area was fenced off so work could begin but people got onto the site – the authority said it wanted the campaigners removed safely so the work could be done safely.
A council spokesperson said: “We want to remind the community that we are not removing trees needlessly.
“In fact, we will be replanting 27 trees – seven at Spon End with an additional 20 being placed at Junction 7 – which is far more than we are taking out.”
Coun Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member with responsibility for jobs, regeneration and climate change said the Government had instructed the council to address air quality issues or motorists could face clean air zone charges of £12.50 to drive in the zone.
“This would have a disastrous impact impact on local people, and businesses already struggling to make ends meet.
“It’s a fact that no-one wants this so it’s really important that we get on.”
He said highways engineers were taking a cautious approach to avoid any impact on existing trees which was why it was committed to more tree planting.
“We must improve air quality on Holyhead Road or we will be mandated by government to implement a charge zone.
“Our plans will allow people to move freely around the city, addressing congestion and managing traffic flow by using a range of approaches to achieve this.”