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Protests Until Climate Emergency Declared In East Riding

Protests Until Climate Emergency Declared In East Riding

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Joe Gerrard at 8:06am 29th July 2020.

Protests are to be held during “every single council meeting” until East Riding of Yorkshire Council declares a climate emergency.

Activists from Animal Rebellion are calling on East Riding Council to “face the truth” about climate change, with the first protest planned for today (July 29), outside the council’s Beverley offices.

The protests come after Council Deputy Leader Mike Stathers said the authority had taken significant steps towards cutting emissions, and that now was “not the time” for the council to declare a climate emergency.

A full council meeting is being held from 9.30am, when councillors are set to vote on a motion that, if implemented, would see the council having to take the environment into account when forming policies and making decisions.

Richard Claxton, of Animal Rebellion, a sister group to Extinction Rebellion, said the council must face the truth about climate change and take leadership on it by adopting the motion.

He said:

“When I started working on environmental issues in around 2003 and 2004, little did I know that we’d be in this situation now. Nothing’s changed, we’re at the end of our tether.

We’re standing on the edge of a precipice. And some councillors seem to either be in denial or not to care.

I’ve seen councillors vote down plans for wind farms in planning meetings but approve fracking sites.

With the recent comments from the Conservatives saying that now isn’t the time and that declaring an emergency is simply box ticking, it seems the issue isn’t a priority for them. I don’t think future generations will forgive them for that.

It seems pretty desperate of them to ask for a pat on the back for installing more efficient street lights when some of us have been using energy saving bulbs for decades now.

I think the council are climate criminals. They may not have done anything illegal but by not taking action and developing green spaces they are acting immorally and unethically.”

Cllr Stathers said he is set to outline “firm” steps the council plans to take to tackle climate change at today’s meeting, and says the council is not being complacent.

He said:

“I reject any suggestion that this authority has been or is being complacent.

I have grandchildren myself and everything I do in this area is with their future in mind.

I don’t want to offend anyone when I say the declaration is box ticking. I have the utmost sympathy and support for what those concerned about the environment are saying.

All I’m asking is that they bear with us a little bit longer so we can get this right.

Our Climate Review panel is due to report back in the coming months and we’re prepared to make a firm commitment by the end of the year which might involve declaring an emergency.”

Jane Tredgett, also of the group, said protesters would demonstrate outside of the council’s Beverley headquarters during “every single meeting” until a climate emergency is declared.

She said:

“The science is out there on this, and what they’re saying is alarming.

The East Riding is particularly vulnerable to flooding and we’re already seeing sea levels rise.

Farms here will also be threatened by crop failures as weather patterns are disrupted.

It’s hard to say exactly how things will play out because a lot depends on what happens globally.

But we’re going to struggle to protect our crops, we know there’s a global crisis of soil failure. Can you imagine the instability from that?

These things might not happen for another 20 years, but we have to get on with tackling the problem now.

I’m not a scientist myself but I am worried about the future for my 10-year-old step-daughter.

Most of these councillors have kids and grandkids themselves. What are they thinking?”

The activists say they have tried everything to make their point, but now feel they have exhausted their options.

Mr Claxton said:

“The council would be taking the lead here if it acknowledges there’s a climate emergency.

In this case the motion would commit the council to taking the climate into account when they make decisions as well as declaring an emergency.

This is not a party political issue. This is above politics, and it’s not just about the impact on the environment but the consequences of that.

We’ve got social scientists telling us that societal collapse is a very real possibility in the coming decades if we don’t act.

If the motion does go through it’s got to be worth the paper it’s written on. The environment needs to be on the agenda in every single decision in every single department.

It’s not a box ticking exercise. It’s about telling the truth and acting on it. And if now is not the time given what we now about climate change then when is? When the collapse has already happened?”

A council spokesperson said protesters were welcome to demonstrate today but asked those involved to respect coronavirus social distancing rules.

Comments

There are 2 comments on this page.

yorkshireboy, on 29th July 2020 8:18am
Each to there own.

But look at the picture.

I don't see any social distancing.

And don't we have enough to worry about at the present time.

It's no good changing climate protection if there is nobody left to see it.

Let's get covid 19 sorted, let's try and get life to something like normality, let's try and get people a job.
Dont get me started, on 29th July 2020 10:52am
These protesters time would be better put to use by helping to clear our beaches of rubbish. Most people have other concerns at the moment

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