Fresh demonstration by Extinction Rebellion at Suffolk County Council
PUBLISHED: 14:40 27 November 2019
Demonstrators from Extinction Rebellion gathered at Suffolk County Council demanding the authority reconvene its climate task force.
The Suffolk Sunrise branch of the organisation has called for the council to "take action" and resume the cross-party climate emergency task force after it's meetings were suspended because of the General Election.
The authority has opted to cancel all of its meetings except for audit and pension fund committees, so as not to influence voters in the run up to December 12.
That includes the non-public policy development panel (PDP) meetings designed to thrash out ideas on specific issues, one of which was the climate task group formed after the council declared a climate emergency earlier this year.
Simone Lister from the group said: "I don't understand why they are doing that because they have the meeting in secret, so it can't be influencing any vote. It's either an emergency or it's not an emergency.
"One of the things they [Extinction Rebellion] say is this is beyond politics, and this is a perfect example of why we say its beyond politics. If it starts to become a political issue it's just going to get messed up like the other political issues. All the political parties should have the climate emergency as their number one agenda."
The demonstrators said the issue was too important not to be addressed, and called for those meetings to be made public as well.
They also raised concerns about recent policies such as the decision to cut bus subsidies as having a negative impact on CO2 levels.
Ms Lister added: "I don't know how many years we have left before CO2 does irreversible damage but I know that it's not long.
"We need Suffolk County Council to take action, otherwise we will be taking action to ensure they do. It is that serious, it is that urgent, it is an emergency. We don't need empty words."
A spokesman from Suffolk County Council said the authority welcomed peaceful demonstrations, and added: "During the pre-election period, councils everywhere have to review their business and meetings to ensure they comply with relevant legislation.
"For Suffolk County Council, this meant postponing several meetings for a short period, including our policy development panels.
"Officers are, of course, still working hard on these areas, ahead of the meetings restarting in a couple of weeks' time. This in no way reduces Suffolk County Council's ongoing efforts to cut carbon emissions or commitments under our climate emergency declaration."
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