Extinction Rebellion protesters block Norwich roundabout over 'eco-cidal' Western Link plan

Protest outside County Hall in Norwich against Western Link road
Protesters block the roundabout outside County Hall in Norwich. Credit: Extinction Rebellion Norwich

Environmental protesters blocked a major route into Norwich ahead of a council meeting to discuss changes to the controversial Western Link Road.

Campaigners have fiercely opposed plans for the multi-million pound route which would link the Northern Distributor Road to the A47, west of the city. They claim it would increase emissions and "destroy swathes of countryside".

On Monday, before Norfolk County Council's Conservative-controlled cabinet discussed an alternative route due to a colony of endangered bats, members of Extinction Rebellion blocked the roundabout outside County Hall and held up commuter traffic.

A video on Extinction Rebellion Norwich's Facebook page showed queues building up, while protesters held up a sign saying "no new roads".

"Quite a long backlog of traffic unfortunately," said the member filming. "It is not what people want on a Monday morning but it's a small amount of disruption now to draw attention to an 'eco-cidal' road scheme."

Broadcasters Stephen Fry and Chris Packham have been among those to call for a rethink on the £198m project.

But councillors insist the link road is crucial to avoid rat-running in places like Ringland and Weston Longville.

The demonstration was one of two outside County Hall before the meeting.

People also gathered to protest against plans to change the payment structure for carers.

Labour Councillor Emma Corlett said it was "utterly immoral and unethical to put a literal price tag on children in our care".

Cllr John Fisher, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services said: “There are two key principles at the heart of this change – to ensure the majority of our children experience the best family-based care possible, and to ensure a fair and equitable payment system for our foster carers.

“We want to recognise those foster carers who looked after children with the greatest needs, as well as invest in training and support for all of our carers."

The changes will come into effect for new foster carers from April.

The council admits some carers could see their allowances reduced under these proposals, but it has pledged to work with each carer to ensure they are not disadvantaged.