The march later ended at Marble Arch, where protestors led by a bagpiper held a mass ‘die-in’ and placed the symbolic coffin on a Dutch-style catafalque.
The campaign group unveiled 10 demands at the protest, one of which urged authorities to ‘stop the killing from lung, heart and other diseases caused by vehicular pollutants’ and to ‘make it mandatory for particulate filters that meet the latest EU emission standards to be fitted to all existing buses, lorries and taxies’.
In addition, the group are seeking all transport fuels to be from environmentally-sustainable sources within 10 years.
According to Stop Killing Cyclists, the march is one of the first large-scale protests in the UK to raise the issue of traffic air pollution as one of its main concerns.
Another demand called for the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street – a policy also recently supported by London Assembly Member Stephen Knight, partly due to air pollution concerns (see airqualitynews.com story).
In his speech, Professor Delaney said: “This car culture is destroying our bodies through pollution and inactivity as much as it destroys lives through so called accidents and our environment through emissions.”Speakers included Professor Brendan Delaney, Kings College London; Tom Kearney, campaign group Safer Oxford Street; and Caroline Russell, Green Party transport spokesperson.
The Professor of primary care research added: “I spend my working life dealing with the end results of our collective blindness to the hidden killer. Diseases of inactivity will break our national health system in the coming decade. We have to stop.”