Residents in the Lawnswood area of Leeds are campaigning against council plans to remove the Lawnswood roundabout in a £10 million attempt to ease congestion on the Leeds ring road.
The proposed plans would replace the existing roundabout with a six lane junction but would result in the loss of 49 trees from the surrounding area.
In a Facebook group with over 500 members, local campaigners have expressed fear at the effect this would have on the environment and claim that congestion around the existing roundabout is not the real problem.
“Our message has been all along that the plans were fundamentally flawed” says Gareth Jones, a local campaigner from Lawnswood. He added: “if you examine the system as a whole going into Leeds, the Lawnswood roundabout is not a bottleneck for traffic, Headingley is…. It would make no overall difference to the journey time into Leeds because of the Headingley bottleneck.”
In their meeting with the Scrutiny Board at The Civic Hall, the campaigners expressed deep concern over the original proposal to cut down 49 trees and the environmental impact of the project.
“In spending £10 million you would have a project that wouldn’t work and wouldn’t achieve its objectives and would destroy all this greenery.”
“This was a hugely invasive and environmentally retrograde step and at the same time Leeds was saying we’ve got this green agenda.”
“You would end up with a big concrete intersection and achieve nothing.”
Leeds City Council has proposed a ‘Clean Air Zone’ for commercial vehicles in the city centre to reduce the city’s emissions, which will push commercial traffic out onto the ring road.
The 49 trees were given a yellow bow by residents as a symbol of the campaigners’ protest against their destruction.