Lewisham Council has voiced support for climate protestors who shut down commuter roads including the South Circular, A21 and A2 this morning.

The Extinction Rebellion campaigners demanded Government action on air quality and blocked traffic on the A20 near Lewisham station, A205 South Circular in Catford and the A2 in Deptford during the morning rush hour.

John Hamilton, who took part in the demonstration, said commuters were sympathetic to their cause.

“We had general support from motorists. We were not there to cause a delay for people. We bunched up the traffic for a bit,” he said.

“Some people were a bit upset but in the end we only stopped them for three minutes.

“Most people are sympathetic and they don’t want to live in polluted areas either.”

Cllr Sophie McGeevor,  cabinet member for the environment, said the council shared the same goals as the campaigners.

Lewisham declared a climate emergency earlier this year, the same day contractors began bulldozing trees at the Tidemill garden.

She said: “As one of the first councils in the country to declare a climate emergency, we share the same goal as Extinction Rebellion – to save the planet and clean up our air.

“We understand that without action the planet is heading towards a climate catastrophe. We are taking bold action to improve air quality whether that is: supporting the ULEZ and campaigning for it to include the whole borough, investing in cycling and walking infrastructure, proposing to make the most polluting vehicles pay more for parking, installing green walls outside schools, increasing the number of electric vehicle charging stations, or investing in Lewisham’s award winning green spaces.

“We want to go further and faster to meet this challenge, but with local government having gone through nearly a decade of austerity we need central government support to do so,” she added.

This morning’s demonstration is expected to be the first in a series of disruptive actions by Extinction Rebellion Lewisham.