A CALL for the county council to declare a climate emergency was rejected.

Hundreds of protestors turned up to County Hall and sat in a packed council chamber to hear whether the council would declare a climate emergency and set a target of making the authority carbon neutral by 2030.

An amended motion, put forward by cabinet member for environment Cllr Tony Miller and backed the Conservatives, removed the plea to declare a climate emergency and pushed the carbon neutral target back to 2050.

Cllr Matthew Jenkins, who had earlier said he could not live with himself if he did not do everything possible to act on the climate emergency, was disappointed to see the motion changed.

He said: “It is not a party political matter, it is a scientific fact. It is too important to delay. It is an emergency and we need to act now.

He said the amended motion looked like the council was saying “look at us we’re amazing, we don’t need to do much else.”

Planting three of the council’s awards in front of him, Cllr Miller, said the council had already been doing its own work to make the council environmentally sustainable for years.

He said: “The work we are doing already is out there. It’s no secret. We don’t get these awards because we do nothing.”

He was backed by his cabinet colleague Cllr Adrian Hardman who said the Conservatives had been working on making the council more sustainable for more than 20 years – pointing to the Hive as a successful example.

Cllr Fran Oborski said it was a “totally negative amendment” and Cllr Richard Udall, who had his own amendment for the council to recognise a ‘climate crisis’ rejected, said Cllr Miller’s changes were saying “do nothing.”

Remarks by some of the council’s Conservatives produced boos from the public gallery and shouts of “shame on you.”

Cllr Ken Pollock rubbished the motion and said many were getting carried away with emotion and not thinking about things reasonably. He said it would be “unreasonable” to think the council could meet any targets by 2030.

Cllr John Raine said the council was doing so much less than it should be whilst Cllr Paul Denham called on the council to be ambitious and “get a move on.”

Cllr Adam Kent accused the opposition of “ignoring the facts” and were giving the public false hope the council could achieve a 2030 target.

Cllr Robin Lunn said merely ‘noting’ the climate emergency was weak and the council needed to actually tackle the problem.