Derbyshire County Council urged to declare 'climate emergency'

Climate change campaigners outside Derbyshire County Council's Matlock HQ.
Climate change campaigners outside Derbyshire County Council's Matlock HQ.

Derbyshire County Council is being urged to declare a 'climate emergency' after more than 2,000 residents signed a petition calling for urgent action.

The move follows strikes across the country by schoolchildren demanding the Government tackles climate change, and the week-long demonstrations in London by Extinction Rebellion which brought the capital to a standstill.

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At a meeting next week, Councillor Anne Western, leader of the Labour group on the council, will propose that the authority declares a 'climate emergency', demanding urgent action to put plans in place to make it carbon neutral by 2030.

The petition was started by Derbyshire campaigner Peter Robinson in conjunction with Derbyshire Climate Coalition.

He said: "If humanity is to survive into the future we have to act now.

"We have very little time left to stop the devastating consequences of runaway climate change.

"Derbyshire people are demanding their councils take a lead on this issue."

Nearly 60 councils across the country have already declared a 'climate emergency' and made a commitment to urgent planning towards a carbon neutral target by 2030.

Next Wednesday's meeting will see councillors voting on whether to support a similar declaration in Derbyshire.

Coun Western said: "The Derbyshire Labour group is proud to propose this motion and sincerely hopes that it is accepted as a non-political resolution that recognises the scale of the threat of climate change and the need for urgent collaborative action.

"We believe we have to act to save the planet but in doing so this will create green jobs as well as cleaner air and better health for the people of Derbyshire."

Derbyshire Climate Coalition was formed earlier this year to bring together campaigners and groups across the county as awareness of the threat of climate change grew among the wider population.

In Derbyshire, Wirksworth Town Council and New Mills Town Council have already declared 'climate emergencies'.

Phil Frodsham, from Transition New Mills, said: "Clearly people across the country are becoming more and more concerned about climate change.

"It gives us hope that so many people are becoming involved in taking action to tackle the climate issue.

"We already have the technology and know-how to become carbon neutral but what we need now is political will and commitment."

Richard Dyer, campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said: "The science is clear - we have just 11 years to prevent climate catastrophe.

"We need urgent action now.

"Parliament and local councils of all political complexions have declared climate emergencies in recent weeks.

"Derbyshire's councillors cannot shirk their responsibilities.

"They must vote to support this declaration as the crucial first stage in taking action locally."