Green anarchists camp against Londonderry road

A GREEN anarchist group has set up camp in County Tyrone to register its opposition to a multi-million pound road project earmarked between Londonderry and Augnacloy.

Climate Camp Ireland - a group that believes in taking direct action against the local causes of climate change - arrived in Victoria Bridge last Thursday to protest the planned A5 Western Transport Corridor.

The anarchist group - organised without leaders or bosses - is commited to taking direct action against the root causes of climate change.

It says it set up Climate Camp Ireland 2010 outside Strabane to "support of the local community and their opposition to the proposed new A5." It has co-operated with the local lobby group the Alternative A5 Alliance in the subversive venture.

The Climate Camp was established in Victoria Bridge from Thursday, August 12, to Monday, August 16. The Alternative A5 Alliance previously hosted a mock-funeral rally in the area surrounding Victoria Bridge to mark their opposition to the planned dual carriageway.

Outlining the group's opposition to the A5 development Nancy Serrano, a spokesperson for Climate Camp Ireland, cited a report commissioned by the Geneva-based UN Global Humanitarian Forum in May 2009, that showed climate change kills about 315,000 people every year through sickness, disease, weather disasters and that the toll is expected to rise to half a million by 2030.

In 1989, the Southern California Association of Governments concluded that traffic-assistance measures, be they adding lanes, or even double-decking the roadways, would have no more than a cosmetic effect on Los Angeles' traffic problems, the group said.

They concluded that building more highways and widening existing roads, almost always motivated by concern over traffic, does nothing to reduce traffic, and instead causes traffic to increase.

Catherine Friedrich, from Climate Camp Ireland said: "Trying to solve traffic congestion by building a new road is like trying to solve obesity by letting out your belt.

"People will use the transport infrastructure that is provided and if that is a road rather than rail, then emissions will increase. Why are both of our governments creating carbon intensive infrastructure when the sustainable alternative of rail exists?

"Rail rather than dual carriageway is what Climate Camp and Alternative A5 Alliance are suggesting. This proposed A5 is not a solution. The benefits of rail are clear. It shortens journey times more than a dual carriageway will, it provides permanent jobs, and isn't unsustainable high carbon infrastructure."

Lynne Smith of the Alternative A5 Alliance said: "This is our future and our children's future. Neither do we want to see the destruction of our natural 'carbon sink' - the fields and trees of Tyrone - for the sake of a theoretical saving of 20 minutes' journey time."