Environmental group plans Suffolk “die-in” to highlight carbon worries

Extinction Rebellion have already held a die-in at Bury St Edmunds. Now they are planning a similar

Extinction Rebellion have already held a die-in at Bury St Edmunds. Now they are planning a similar protest at Endeavour House in Ipswich. Picture: XR BURY ST EDMUNDS - Credit: XR BURY ST EDMUNDS

Environmental pressure group Extinction Rebellion is preparing to hold a “die-in” at Suffolk County Council’s meeting this week to protest about its lack of action on climate change.

Group spokesman Lee Jenkins said the group had put in a series of Freedom of Information requests to the county following its declaration of a climate emergency.

However these showed that the authority was only on course to reduce carbon emissions by half of one percent.

He said: "It would appear that Suffolk County Council activities over the past five years specifically targeted at reducing carbon emissions in the county have resulted in 10,250 tonnes of carbon dioxide being removed from the county's carbon footprint annually which is less than 0.5% of the county's carbon emissions - a clearly woeful rate for a body that had declared a climate emergency."

The council was spending more than £18m on this - £1,800 for every tonne of carbon removed.

He added: "We at Extinction Rebellion believe that Suffolk County Council is clearly very good at obtaining finance for schemes from government bodies. Unfortunately, the schemes appear to be largely ineffective at achieving their central aim of reducing carbon emissions."

Richard Rout, Suffolk cabinet member for the environment, 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.

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"I had a positive meeting with members of Extinction Rebellion East Suffolk and Ipswich three 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 I'm presenting a paper to cabinet to propose 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."

Suffolk challenges these figures, a spokesman said: "The council has spent approximately £85 for every tonne of carbon removed, rather than the £1,800 figure which has been claimed.

"Many of the projects involved in this calculation were focused on other benefits to Suffolk residents, such as reducing fuel poverty and improving health.

"The projects did deliver carbon reduction, but this wasn't specifically measured. It is something we aim to do going forward."

Members of Extinction Rebellion are planning to hold a "die-in" at Endeavour House before Thursday afternoon's meeting to highlight the issue and try to change the council's environmental policies.

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