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Children should be in school, not on climate strikes, says Norfolk county councillor

PUBLISHED: 12:36 16 September 2019 | UPDATED: 13:30 16 September 2019

The third Youth Strike 4 Climate protest outside City Hall, Norwich in May. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

The third Youth Strike 4 Climate protest outside City Hall, Norwich in May. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

Children should be in school, not taking part in climate change strikes, according to a Norfolk county councillor who was asked to show support for young campaigners ahead of this week's action.

More than 150 protests are due to take place this Friday, including in Norwich and King's Lynn, in the latest school strike for climate demonstrations.

Previous Youth Strike 4 Climate demonstrations in February, March and May saw thousands of students across the country leave their schools and protest on the streets.

Students were galvanised by school pupil Greta Thunberg, whose strikes outside Swedish parliament led to a global movement calling for governments to take more action to prevent climate change.

At a meeting of Norfolk County Council's infrastructure and development committee, Labour councillor Jess Barnard asked if the committee would send a message of solidarity to the young people taking part in the demonstrations.

Barry Stone, Norfolk county councillor. Pic: Norfolk County Council.Barry Stone, Norfolk county councillor. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

But Conservative chairman Barry Stone was not keen to do so.

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He said: "They should be staying in school, not having a day out.

"Schoolchildren need education."

However, Mr Stone, who represents Loddon, did go on to give credit to climate change campaigners Extinction Rebellion for highlighting the issue.

Members of the group occupied the council chamber at its budget-setting meeting in February, delaying the meeting until they were removed by police.

Mr Stone said he did not agree with their methods, but said: "Extinction Rebellion have highlighted an issue and that has been taken up far more vigorously now than it was, so they have done a good job."

Mr Stone said he was not "totally disagreeing" with Miss Barnard, but that the committee would not be supporting the student strikes, although it would note that they were happening.

Mr Stone's wife Margaret recently resigned from her role as chairman of the Norfolk health overview and scrutiny committee.

The Conservative councillor for Clavering had sent an email to the parents of a disabled man in which she described them as 'selfish' for trying to get the council to reverse its decision on care cost changes.

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