Council unanimously declare ‘climate emergency’ for North Somerset

The Extinction Rebellion group outside Weston Town Hall. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

The Extinction Rebellion group outside Weston Town Hall. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

North Somerset Council will explore ways to go carbon neutral after unanimously declaring a ‘climate emergency’.

Councillors supported the vote to make efforts to go carbon neutral after the motion was put forward by councillors Tom Leimdorfer and Mike Bell.

Green Party member, Cllr Leimdorfer told last week’s meeting young people had ‘woken up’ and were taking action.

He said: “By the time they are the decision makers, the tipping point will have long past. They look to us not to let them down.

“In the past half century, we have wiped out 60 per cent of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles.

“We are facing mass extinction of life and eventually of human life.”

Council leader, Nigel Ashton, made an amendment to the motion to ask officers to prepare a report for future actions the authority could take to reduce emissions, with an idea of costs required.

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He said: “We want to take this seriously and produce a proper report.

“North Somerset has already shown commitment and set targets for reductions, we will continue to be leaders on this topic.”

The formation of environmental action group Extinction Rebellion Weston started the calls for change, with a spokesman calling on the councillors to ‘save our future’.

Cllr Bell said: “We have a 12-year window to try to take action. The question we should all ask ourselves is ‘what do my children expect me to do?’.

“North Somerset could be at the forefront of the movement, it will create jobs and opportunities by bringing the community together and harvest ideas.

“We do not all know what the costs will be but by working together we can all make a difference.”

Plans to expand Bristol Airport were also debated, with some raising concerns it would only add to the emission problems.

Cllr Peter Burden said: “The problem with not allowing the airport to expand is we will see people travel further afield to places like Gatwick or Heathrow to fly, which will not help matters.”

Supporters of the motion cheered when councillors agreed to investigate what it can do.