March ahead of debate on ‘climate emergency’ to be held in Chichester

Members of the SECA (South East Climate Alliance
Members of the SECA (South East Climate Alliance

Climate change campaigners are getting ready to rally round for a demonstration in Chichester tomorrow (Friday).

Demonstrators are planning to march from the Market Cross to County Hall in a bid to put pressure on West Sussex councillors to declare a ‘Climate Emergency’ when it debates a motion on climate change at its full council meeting.

The motion from cllr Michael Jones will request that the council pledges to attempt to make West Sussex carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption emissions.

“Councils like West Sussex are uniquely placed to lead the world in reducing carbon emissions – for example because of their capacity for local energy generation, such as running our own solar farms and promoting solar energy take up among local organisations and residents, supporting the greater use of electric powered vehicles both in the private and public sector and for personal use, and investing further in public transport.

“West Sussex is already suffering from flooding problems and a significant proportion of its population and a large number of its settlements are based in coastal areas which would potentially be devastated by a rise in sea levels caused by continual global warming.

“The consequences of global temperature rising above 1.5°C are so severe that preventing this from happening must be a number one priority and bold climate action can deliver economic benefits.”

The motion also asks for consideration of ‘whether it would be advisable to take into account climate change impacts’ when considering planning applications, consultations or commenting on reports, plans and reviews and for a report to full council within six months with the actions to be taken to address the ‘climate emergency’.

Those invited to attend the protest include anti-oil drilling group Markwells Wood Watch, which is urging the council to ‘instigate radical changes – not some watered-down version with vague aspirations’.

It wrote: “Radical changes will mean additional costs but not all changes need be expensive, and they will often have additional benefits.

“Policies to reduce car use, like clean air zones, higher parking charges for petrol and diesel cars matched by improved public transport and walking and cycling paths, will improve air quality, public amenity as well as reduce climate change emissions.”

The organisers of the demonstration, Worthing Climate Action Network and the South East Climate Alliance (SECA), are predicting that there will be a

large turn out and are urging anyone who can manage it to join the peaceful demonstration.

Dr Sally Barnard of the South East Climate Alliance (SECA) said: “We need to follow the example of our young people, and tell our leaders loud and clear that we want them to take urgent action on climate change.

“All of us can do our bit, but it’s a huge task and our council needs to show leadership before it’s too late.”

Ronnie Reed of SECA said: “Come and join us, and show the council that its not just activists, but many ordinary citizens in West Sussex who want them to take action.”

The march will start at 9.45am at the Market Cross and walk down West Street to County Hall ahead of the council meeting at 10.30am.