Council leader assures ‘strides are being made’ to tackle climate change locally following Extinction Rebellion protest

Council leader Anna Bailey says progress is being made to tackle climate change locally after Ely Extinction Rebellion held a socially distanced protest outside the authority’s offices.

“There are strides being made and we will continue to update residents on our progress,” said the leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council.

Ely XR say their protest was held to mark one year since the council declared a ‘climate emergency’.

Protesters laid out shoes to stand for rebels who wanted to be there but could not for social distancing reasons.

An Ely XR spokesperson said they challenged the council’s claims that their environment and climate change strategy was “deeply important to every single member of this council” and that “great progress” had been made in three months.

The spokesperson said: “While ECDC made an important step by declaring a climate emergency we are still waiting for a sufficiently ambitious and detailed plan for how our district should achieve net zero carbon emissions.

“The council has taken some promising steps but these will be wiped out by its failure to act quickly in areas where it has real influence, such as planning and transport.

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“By approving polluting projects such as the A10 dualling or waving through poor-sustainability housing, the council is cancelling out any possible positive effects gained by changing its lightbulbs.”

MORE: Council response to Ely Extinction Rebellion letter

Cllr Bailey said: “We have delivered on our ‘environment and climate change strategy and action plan’. This was adopted by the council in June 2020.

“These documents, which are publicly available on our website, include 20 commitments which we are striving to complete during 2020/2021.

“We are providing updates on a regular basis, some of which have already included the council’s switch to a 100 per cent renewable energy green tariff, adopting a new natural environment supplementary planning document and going out to consultation on the draft climate change supplementary planning document.

“There are certain projects which we do not control”. Planning and the A10 was one but “on the A10 the council had made it clear that upgrades must include an off-road segregated cycle and pedestrian route”