CLIMATE protesters will be lobbying York’s council offices on Tuesday as city planners meet to discuss the latest plans to dual the A1237 York outer ring road.

Fresh plans to dual the section of road between the junction with the A19 and the Hopgrove roundabout were formally submitted earlier this month following months of work tweaking an earlier application submitted in 2022.

The scheme is recommended for approval.

But members of Extinction Rebellion York will be joining others opposed to the plans – including York Environment Forum and York Cycle Campaign – to protest outside City of York Council’s West Offices HQ on Tuesday as planners meet inside.

They say they will ‘send a firm message to City of York Council that there can be no new road building in a climate emergency’.

York Press: Extinction Rebellion York plan a protest at council HQ as planners debate dualling the A1237Extinction Rebellion York plan a protest at council HQ as planners debate dualling the A1237 (Image: Supplied)

News of the protest, however, comes as business leaders in the region have publicly backed the proposals.

The York and North Yorkshire Chamber of commerce says dualling the ring road is of ‘crucial importance to the city’s economy’.

Extension Rebellion York says its members will meet up with other local campaigners opposed to dualling outside West Offices just before 2pm on Tuesday. Planners meet to discuss the dualling application at 2.30pm.

An Extinction Rebellion spokesperson said: “Road building and expansion is not consistent with the council’s declaration of a climate emergency.

“Transport accounts for a third of the country’s total carbon emissions and it is the only sector where emissions have increased since 1990. To avoid climate catastrophe, we need to oppose road building schemes like the one here in York.

“While the council claims that the dualling of the ring road will reduce congestion and move cars out of the city centre, it has been repeatedly shown that increased road capacity generates more, not less, traffic.

“Extinction Rebellion York calls on the council to reverse the outer ring road dualling scheme and follow through on its climate promises.”


To dual or not to dual York's outer ring road – that’s the question

Dualling of York's outer ring road: what people say

Fresh plans in for £65m dualling of York outer ring road

But Sarah Czarnecki, president of York & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said her organisation fully supported dualling.

York Press: Sarah Czarnecki, President of York & North Yorkshire Chamber of CommerceSarah Czarnecki, President of York & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce (Image: Supplied)

She said: “The dualling of the ring road around York will be of crucial importance to the city’s economy.

“It will boost productivity by getting goods and services around the city quicker, as well as allowing workers to travel to and from work faster and enabling employers to recruit from a wider geographic range.

“This will in turn bolster opportunities for further job creation and the attraction of inward investment, all of which means more revenue generated to fund vital public services upon which all citizens of York rely.”

The proposals have won the provisional backing of several key agencies, including the Environment Agency, Historic England, Natural England, the Foss Internal Drainage Board and Active Travel England.

But the revised application also generated a total of 137 objections, including from York Green Party, York Environment Forum, York Cycle Campaign and Get Cycling.

The scheme has also pitted the city’s two MPs against each other.

York Outer Conservative MP Julian Sturdy says the says the road should have been dualled years ago, and that York should get on and ‘just dual it’.

But York Central Labour MP Rachael Maskell says dualling is ‘not the right solution’ - and that money should be spent on improving public transport instead.

York Press: York's two MPs - Rachael Maskell, left, and Julian Sturdy, right - are at loggerheads over whether to dual the York outer ring roadYork's two MPs - Rachael Maskell, left, and Julian Sturdy, right - are at loggerheads over whether to dual the York outer ring road (Image: Supplied)

Cllr Pete Kilbane, York’s Labour executive member for transport, has said he is with the ‘almost four out of five residents completing the consultation’ who support dualling.

But he says it must be part of a ‘step change’ in attitudes to travel.

He said: “We need to be far more ambitious in our thinking if we are going to solve the problems of traffic congestion, air pollution and climate change.

“This means having serious conversations with the incoming Mayor (of York and North Yorkshire, who will be elected in May) about the possibilities for light rail and bus priority measures to remove the need for current levels of car journeys.”