Extinction Rebellion and Northern Bypass protesters heading to Suffolk County Council
PUBLISHED: 13:40 17 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:18 17 July 2019
XR BURY ST EDMUNDS
Two environmental protests are to be made before a Suffolk County Council meeting in Ipswich.
Members of the newly-formed Stop the Ipswich Northern Bypass group will be lobbying members before the meeting which will discuss a motion which calls on the council to cease any further spending on plans for the new road.
Their motion says that given the council has declared a climate emergency and is aiming to become carbon neutral by 2030, the authority should give more weight to questions of whether new infrastructure projects will increase greenhouse gas emissions.
The Stop the Bypass group was formally launched this week with the backing of parish councillors from 19 towns and villages to the north of Ipswich, as well as Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter.
Meanwhile members of the Ipswich branch of the Extinction Rebellion campaign are planning to hold a "die-in" at Endeavour House before the meeting to highlight fears about climate change.
Their protest comes as the national organisation is targeting events in five cities across the UK - London, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds and Bristol - in a bid to persuade the government to speed up the reduction in carbon.
Helen Bridgeman, from the Ipswich group, said: "In March the council declared a climate emergency. We all know what an emergency is - 'our house is on fire' (to quote Greta Thunberg) - everyone needs to do something about an emergency right now.
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"It's now July. It's not enough to take several months to just set up a panel with a view to making some recommendations next year, while continuing to push ahead with projects heading in the wrong direction.
"If government continues like that in response to this crisis then we're all going to be up the creek without a paddle - and probably without any food."
Suffolk County Council cabinet member Richard Rout said: "I'm encouraged that there are many people in Suffolk who are prepared to act now to protect our environment and combat climate change on a local and global scale.
"I had a positive meeting with members of Extinction Rebellion East Suffolk and Ipswich a few weeks ago. We share ambitions and have some differences, but I hope that this relationship continues to grow.
"In March this year the council declared a climate emergency and this week cabinet agreed a new approach to how we tackle this, including the creation of a cross-party policy development panel. This means that we can re-focus our efforts, build on our successes and ensure that becoming a carbon neutral authority by 2030 is embedded in everything we do."
"I understand the frustration that such things take time, but as a local authority we have a democratic process that must be followed.
"However, this doesn't mean we're just starting to tackle climate change issues now. The council has been leading a variety of environmental projects for many years and has played a key role in the creating the Greenest County partnership, since it was established in 2007.
A spokesman for the council said: "We welcome lawful demonstrations as part of the democratic process and have been in discussion with Extinction Rebellion ahead of the full council meeting on Thursday."