July 5, 2019 2.48 pm This story is over 27 months old

Local Democracy Weekly: How councils became the first point of call for climate emergency declarations

Councils have been called upon to declare climate emergencies

As climate change campaigners keep their grip on the political conversation on the environment, they’ve slowly turned their attention towards local government as a first point of call.

While Extinction Rebellion stormed the streets of London and brought the city’s commuters to a standstill, others formed their own pockets of demonstrations outside town halls and council buildings.

The goal is to call on councillors to declare a climate emergency and for authorities to follow with real action, such as reducing emissions.

Often towns and cities may go as far as to pledge to become carbon-neutral over the next decade.

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More than 100 councils have passed such motions, but Lincolnshire is not one of them.

In fact, the county council rejected a call to declare an emergency and instead decided to “recognise” that there was a problem.

Naturally, the decision did not impress Extinction Rebellion who said the move was “not good enough”.

Protesters outside Lincolnshire County Council in ahead of a planning committee meeting earlier this week. Picture: Daniel Jaines.

However, there will be a chance for another local authority in the region to declare a climate emergency.

Next week, councillors in North Kesteven will have a motion put before them calling on them to make the declaration.

While the idea of taking to local councils to spread the message of climate change may seem a small victory, it is part of a larger campaign.

Convincing hundreds of local authorities to declare a climate emergency culminated in MPs passing their own motion back in May.

While Lincolnshire has yet to commit to the same message, there is still efforts being made to change that.

The message may seemingly be an empty one and after all it is just a motion being passed in a council chamber.

But, if we have learned anything from decades of demonstrations by climate activists it’s that they will not let politicians forget their promises.

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