Environment protestors who defaced council sites to face police probe
PUBLISHED: 17:57 24 September 2020
An environmental activist group which defaced council buildings to protest inaction on climate change faces police investigation.
Extinction Rebellion protestors in West Norfolk targeted the council-owned sites in King’s Lynn to object to the council leader’s plans to scrap the environment portfolio holder role in the council cabinet.
The group used chalk spray paint - which is removable and not damaging to the environment - to daub the words ‘you’re failing us’ at the council building, ‘act now’ at the town hall and ‘climate emergency’ at St James car park.
But council leader Brian Long denounced XR’s actions, which he said were “highly irresponsible”.
An XR spokesman said: “He is no longer simply ignoring the problem, he is actively working against any progress.
“As long as the leader shirks all responsibility for the environment the council cannot be seen as legitimately representing the interests of the borough.”
He added: “Young people will live with the consequences of the decisions made today but are often ignored by our political system.
“The tiny steps the council have taken are completely out of step with what is necessary, and now we see plans to go backwards.
“Mr Long must reinstate the environment portfolio and appoint someone who will take it seriously to bring about meaningful change to prevent the worst of the crisis.”
Council leader Mr Long said: “This is a highly irresponsible act at a time when council resources are already stretched. We have had to redirect staff to clean off the graffiti, who would otherwise be focusing on cleaning council venues to ensure they are safe for staff and public in a time when Covid-19 cases are on the increase.
“This criminal damage has been reported to the police who will no doubt review CCTV coverage as part of their investigation.”
He added: “Far from scrapping the portfolio, I have brought environmental matters into my own portfolio, demonstrating the importance that I give it, and providing additional gravitas.
“We all agree that tackling climate change is a priority and this council is acting.”
A Norfolk police spokeswoman said the council received reports of criminal damage and officers were investigating the matter.
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