Protesters gather outside Fareham council before vote turns climate emergency into climate 'aspirations'

Friends of the Earth activists protesting outside Fareham Borough Council.
Friends of the Earth activists protesting outside Fareham Borough Council.
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Protesters gathered outside Fareham Borough Council before a vote on tacking the climate emergency last night.

The Fareham branch of environmental charity Friends of the Earth organised the demonstration, with four activists addressing the full council meeting before the vote.

Activists gathered outside Fareham Borough Council before a vote on goals to tackle the climate emergency.

Activists gathered outside Fareham Borough Council before a vote on goals to tackle the climate emergency.

Tim Pratt, a volunteer with the group, said it was 'vital' that the council considers its environmental impact with all of its decisions, with the approval of the 6,000 home Welborne garden village 'locking-in' carbon emissions 'for years to come.'

He said: 'We need to reach net zero carbon emissions across the whole borough, which means cutting emissions by 13 per cent each year until 2030.

‘The figures are really stark, if we are to honour our commitment to the Paris Climate Accords.’ 

Councillor Jim Forrest, of Stubbington ward, proposed the climate emergency motion, which outlined a series of goals for the council's working group on climate change.

The goals include ensuring the council's activities are net zero in terms of carbon emissions by 2030 and creating a Citizen's Assembly to help shape plans to climate change. 

READ MORE: Council approves outline plan for 6,000 homes in Fareham

But Councillor Simon Martin, who will lead the working group, said the climate emergency motion was 'trying to tie the hands' of the group and 'limit its scope' before it had held its first meeting.

He said: 'We are looking at significantly more measures than those in this motion,, and we are looking outside the box in the widest possible way.'

Council leader Sean Woodward proposed a successful amendment that saw the goals become 'aspirations.'

He said: 'I want to see the working group have maximum flexibility , and I don't want to see the council dictate what the working group should do.'

The council voted unanimously adopt the motion with the amendment.

READ MORE: Mother of 11-year-old boy killed while crossing Fareham road calls for safer crossings

Addressing the issue of some politician's ongoing scepticism of man-made global warming, Cllr Forrest expressed a further aspiration for the working group.

He said: 'I wish we could send the working group over the Atlantic to sort out President Trump.'

More than 50 local authorities across the UK have declared a climate emergency, with Portsmouth City Council joining the movement after a vote in March.