Watch dramatic ‘die in’ protest outside Suffolk County Council
- Credit: RACHEL EDGE
Climate change protestors who staged a dramatic ‘die-in’ protest outside a Suffolk council have called on bosses to “act now” on its environmental pledges.
Extinction Rebellion's Ipswich contingent gathered outside Suffolk County Council's Endeavour House headquarters on Thursday afternoon, protesting that the council needs to act following its decision to declare a climate emergency in March and a vow to be carbon neutral by 2030.
The demonstration featured campaigners playing dead before children shouted calls to "wake up", as well speeches, songs and placards.
Its concerns lay around delays in work taking place since the council's climate emergency declaration, and has called on the authority to cut its pension investments in fossil fuel companies, halt work on a northern bypass, instigate measures to cut back on air pollution and protect Suffolk's natural environment from the threat of Sizewell C.
Helen Bridgeman from the group said it was essential to make the council "wake up" and added: "It's about making the council act now.
"They are still going ahead with things like the northern bypass [consultation] and they are going in the wrong direction.
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"This is urgent for all of us and our children's future."
The demonstration follows other campaigns across the country, including national protests in London, Cardiff, Bristol, Glasgow and Leeds.
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Richard Rout, Conservative cabinet member for environment and public protection spoke to the group during the demonstration, and said: "We welcome peaceful protest, it's the bedrock of our society and a strong democracy.
"We are proud of our record here at Suffolk County Council on the environment, since creating the Greenest County [ambition] came about in 2007.
"I am glad we have declared a climate emergency, we have created a new strategic framework to ensure our target of being carbon neutral by 2030 is embedded in everything that we do.
"We recognise that we can and must do more to rise up to the challenge of climate change, and what I would say to the protestors is the scrutiny they put us under, the strength of feeling, pushes us to be better."
At Tuesday's cabinet meeting it was agreed to form a cross party panel to launch in September that will come up with measures to help the council achieve its 2030 carbon neutral target.
Green councillor Robert Lindsay, who also witnessed the demonstration, praised the efforts of the group to give up time to make their voices heard, and added: "The awareness of the crisis we are in with climate change, and the awareness that building new roads isn't the solution to that is growing all the time."