A BID to withdraw Wiltshire Council from a nationwide conservation initiative has been roundly defeated, with the council publicly committed to tackle climate change.
The bid to withdraw from the Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change was tabled by a Wiltshire councillor for Melksham, deputy mayor Rod Eaton.
The Nottingham Declaration is a one-page document for UK local authorities to voluntarily make a public commitment to tackling climate change locally. Councils signing the declaration are publicly committing themselves to action. Over 300 local authorities have signed, from small authorities like Kerrier (in Cornwall), to larger councils like Newcastle.
After a two-hour public debate on Tuesday 15th September Wiltshire councillors voted 84-6 to continue its support for the Nottingham Declaration, with two abstentions.
The motion had caused sparks to fly amongst climate-conscious objectors who staged a rally outside the council’s offices prior to the debate.
The motion cllr Eaton proposed stated, “We assert that Wiltshire Council should not remain a party to a declaration committing us to combat anthropogenic climate change, a theory founded on the ‘sand’ of uncertainty.
“It relies on the unproven significance of man-made green house gas emissions (principally carbon dioxide) in determining climate. The theory is challenged by many climate/related scientists. Further, the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) global warming predictions, based on models of this theory, have not materialised and show no sign of doing so.”
After the vote Toby Sturgis, Wiltshire Council member with responsibility for the environment said, “I’m pleased we’ve made this pledge to continue to combat climate change. It shows Wiltshire Council is committed to reducing its carbon footprint.
“In addition, we will be signing up to the 10:10 Campaign to further show our support for this globally-important issue.”
Local people angered by the motion assembled outside the meeting on Tuesday 15th September with placards, many from Melksham’s Climate Friendly Group. A protest group was also set up on Facebook, the social networking website, attracting over 100 members within hours.
The internet group, set up by Melksham woman Marieke Guy stated, “Climate change poses a genuine threat to our planet. Withdrawing from this agreement is very dangerous and will make Wiltshire look like a truly backward county.”
Friends of the Earth’s regional campaign co-ordinator Mike Birkin said, “Friends of the Earth is delighted that Wiltshire Council has reconfirmed its support for action to fight global warming – local councils have a key role to play in combating climate change.”