EXTINCTION Rebellion placed more than 200 pairs of shoes outside Hove Town Hall to represent people killed by pollution and traffic accidents in Brighton.

The environmental group gathered yesterday to protest about air pollution and road safety in the city.

One protester said every time her children went out on their bicycles they “take their lives in their hands”. 

Sophie Broadbent, 42, took part in the demonstration out of concern for the youngsters, aged seven and nine.  

The Argus:

She 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 bike -  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.”

As part of the demonstration, shoes donated by residents were placed on the ground to symbolise those who have died.

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

The Argus:

Mrs Broadbent said more action from local and national government was needed to keep children safe.

She said: “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.”

Latest figures from the Department for Transport show 168 people were killed or seriously injured in road traffic accidents in Brighton and Hove in 2019.

That was a decrease of 8 per cent on the year before when there were 182.

A further study from Edinburgh University revealed that up to 54 people living in the heart of the city die prematurely every year due to exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a gas emitted by road traffic.