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Former Norwich city councillor among Extinction Rebellion group 'disappointed' after Michael Gove meeting

PUBLISHED: 16:56 30 April 2019 | UPDATED: 17:14 30 April 2019

Former Norwich city councillor and Extinction Rebellion activist Rupert Read meets environment secretary Michael Gove. Pic: Extinction Rebellion/PA Wire

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Former Norwich city councillor and Extinction Rebellion activist Rupert Read meets environment secretary Michael Gove. Pic: Extinction Rebellion/PA Wire .

A former Norwich city councillor was among members of campaign group Extinction Rebellion who met environment secretary Michael Gove to discuss the activists' demands for change.

Dr Rupert Read was one of five members of the group to meet Mr Gove and ministers from other departments, including the Treasury, in Westminster.

Their demands included declaring a national emergency on climate change, reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025 and establishing a Citizens Assembly for people to make decisions and suggest policies.

However, the group said they were left frustrated with Mr Gove and said their rebellion would continue after the “disappointing” meeting.

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The group said Mr Gove had missed an opportunity, although Extinction Rebellion did welcome Mr Gove committing to discussing a Citizen's Assembly with London mayor Sadiq Khan.

But Dr Read, who used to be a Green city councillor for Wensum ward and is a lecturer in philosophy at the University of East Anglia, said afterwards: “The game seems to be up that the UK is a leader on climate change, the reality is we are just not.”

Theresa May's official spokesman told a Westminster press briefing: “We are committed to tackling climate change and being the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we found it.

“We are already a world leader on this issue, cutting emissions further and faster than any other G7 country, but of course we need to do more.”

Asked whether Mrs May agreed there was an “environment emergency”, the spokesman added: “As the environment secretary has set out this afternoon, the most important thing is to ensure that the government acts. It's about actions, not the words we use.”

This month saw Extinction Rebellion carry out street protests and roadblocks which saw 1,130 arrests in London over Easter.

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