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Decision on climate emergency gets further delay

PUBLISHED: 22:49 17 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:09 18 October 2019

Activists from King's Lynn Youth Climate Campaigner and Extinction Rebellion protest outside King's Lynn Town Hall. Photo: Casey Cooper-Fiske

Activists from King's Lynn Youth Climate Campaigner and Extinction Rebellion protest outside King's Lynn Town Hall. Photo: Casey Cooper-Fiske

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A decision to declare a climate emergency has been delayed by West Norfolk councillors despite a protest by environmental campaigners.

Activists from King's Lynn Youth Climate Campaigner and Extinction Rebellion protest outside King's Lynn Town Hall. Photo: Casey Cooper-FiskeActivists from King's Lynn Youth Climate Campaigner and Extinction Rebellion protest outside King's Lynn Town Hall. Photo: Casey Cooper-Fiske

A decision to declare a climate emergency has been delayed by West Norfolk councillors despite a protest by environmental campaigners.

Over 50 people lined the streets outside King's Lynn Town Hall to protest before a full council meeting of West Norfolk Council on Thursday night.

Members voted on a motion from councillor Michael de Whalley, calling on them to declare a climate change emergency.

The motion aimed to make climate change and biodiversity the top priority for West Norfolk Council.

Activists from King's Lynn Youth Climate Campaigner and Extinction Rebellion protest outside King's Lynn Town Hall. Photo: Casey Cooper-FiskeActivists from King's Lynn Youth Climate Campaigner and Extinction Rebellion protest outside King's Lynn Town Hall. Photo: Casey Cooper-Fiske

The meeting got off to a fiery start with a question from Extinction Rebellion activist, Dr Charlie Gardner read by Lee Stephens, which asked the cabinet chair for environment Ian Devereaux if cities such as New York were declaring a climate emergency "what makes King's Lynn and West Norfolk so different?".

Councillor Devereaux accused Extinction Rebellion of 
having a "patronising approach and lawless disregard for our established structures of government" along with a "partizan, anti-establishment view of the world".

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Mr Devereaux added, to boos and shouts of "shame" from protesters present: "We will continue to do what can be 
done, we will not dance to the 
tune of unelected and 
anarchistic groups."

Activists from King's Lynn Youth Climate Campaigner and Extinction Rebellion protest outside King's Lynn Town Hall. Photo: Casey Cooper-FiskeActivists from King's Lynn Youth Climate Campaigner and Extinction Rebellion protest outside King's Lynn Town Hall. Photo: Casey Cooper-Fiske

Mr Stephens replied: "I am deeply ashamed."

Councillor Devereaux repeated his response when another activist, Hazel Fredericks, asked whether the council should be doing more than just reducing its own corporate emissions.

Ms Fredericks said she was "dismayed" at Mr Devereaux's comments and urged fellow councillors to "have a word with him" about his language.

When it came to voting on the motion, leader of the council Brian Long suggested that the motion was deferred to the cabinet for further analysis.

Jordan Stokes of King's Lynn Youth Climate Campaigners protests ahead of a council meeting on October 17. Photo: Casey Cooper-FiskeJordan Stokes of King's Lynn Youth Climate Campaigners protests ahead of a council meeting on October 17. Photo: Casey Cooper-Fiske

Independent group leader Jim Moriarty also put forward an amendment which removed a part of the motion, which stated that in voting for the amendment councillors accepted climate change was man made.

Mr Moriarty's amendment was passed, with all Conservative members voting in favour.

The leader of the council 
then proposed to bring the issue back to the council following a cabinet debate and all members voted in favour.

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