West Norfolk council delays decision on climate emergency
- By Elaine Bird
- 18 October 2019
- North-West Norfolk
Despite fierce condemnation from environmental campaigners, the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk voted last night to delay a motion of declaring a climate emergency.
Scores of activists affiliated with the environmental group Extinction Rebellion lined the streets outside of Town Hall before the meeting took place on Thursday night.
Councillors voted on a motion put forward by Michael de Whalley urging the council to declare a climate emergency, citing startling statistics and recommendations recently published by the Tyndall Centre in Manchester.
The motion would have sealed the borough’s commitment to greatly reduce their environmental impact and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.
However, tensions flared following Dr Charlie Gardner’s question (read on behalf of Lee Stephens) asking why King’s Lynn and West Norfolk are so different from cities such as New York and Paris in declaring a climate emergency.
Councillor Ian Devereaux’s fired back that Extinction Rebellion are “undemocratic,” hold a “partizan, anti-establishment view of the world” and have a “lawless regard for our established structures of government.”
Protestors fired back with chants of “shame on you”, with Mr Devereaux adding that the council “will not dance to the tune of unelected and anarchistic groups.”
When voting on the motion on whether to declare a climate emergency, leader of the council Brian Long suggested that it should be deferred to cabinet.
Councillors voted on the motion but two recanted their decisions and a revote was allowed. 26 votes against 25 secured the decision to defer to cabinet for further analysis before being brought back to the council again.
An amendment by Independent group leader Jim Moriarty was passed to remove a section of the motion that councillors accept that climate change is man-made.
In a statement, Extinction Rebellion King’s Lynn and West Norfolk said:
“Tonight (17th Oct) the Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk has failed to act.”
“XR calls for a Citizens' Assembly to decide how to move forward because we think politicians can't be trusted to do what's needed, but once ordinary people know the facts - they will know what needs to be done.”
“Our Borough Council won't even admit there's an emergency; the resolve of our local group is only strengthened from the shambolic events of this meeting.”
Extinction Rebellion have been taking part in civil disobedience throughout London over the past two weeks, causing major disruption and up to 1,400 protesters have been arrested.