Candidates in the local council elections across West Sussex have been pledging their support for a Climate Emergency declaration in response to a new grass roots campaign. Voters are being urged to ‘Vote for Climate Action’ this Thursday, by backing candidates who are in favour of decisive action on climate change.
The South East Climate Alliance, a coalition of community, faith and environmental groups, has been approaching candidates in the District and Borough Councils to ask their support for urgent climate action by their council should they be elected.
Coordinator Dr Sally Barnard said: “We are an alliance of grass roots organisations from across the South East. We have grown from 14 groups to nearly 40 in the space of three months. People across all of our communities are waking up to the fact that climate change is the most urgent issue of our times. We want our local councils to recognise their responsibility and take urgent action on behalf of all their residents. We cannot delay any longer.”
So far, there have been pledges of support for the campaign from 33 candidates in 19 wards across Horsham, Chichester, Arun and Worthing. The candidates are from across the political spectrum.
Dr Barnard stressed that the South East Climate Alliance was avoiding a party political approach. The aim is to bring climate change into the spotlight as a central issue for councils: “Ultimately, councillors from all parties need to work together on this. We need action on a massive scale, and at every level of government.”
The campaign for District and Borough Councils to declare a Climate Emergency echoes calls to take action at a national level and builds on the success of earlier efforts to encourage West Sussex County Council to step up its climate efforts. In front of a public gallery packed with campaigners, the County Council voted unanimously on April 5 to back a motion setting a target for the Council becoming carbon neutral by 2030.