Sian Berry, co-leader of the Green Party, visited Newbury on 5 March to support our campaign to persuade West Berkshire Council to declare a climate emergency.
More than 70 Green Party members, Extinction Rebellion activists and school student campaigners braved the heavy rain to protest outside the council offices as councillors entered for the last full council meeting before the elections on 2 May.
Sian Berry told the demonstrators that she had been inspired by the protests against the Newbury bypass to become an environmental campaigner.
More than 2,000 people signed Steve Masters’ petition earlier in the year calling on the council to follow at least 27 other local authorities around the country, led by Greens in Bristol, by declaring a climate emergency and becoming zero carbon by 2030. The current Conservative council supports the government target of 2050 – which experts say will be too little, too late. The council is, however, now obliged to hold a debate on the proposal.
Steve, prospective Green Party parliamentary candidate for Newbury, urged the protesters to keep up the pressure on the council so that future generations could enjoy “a viable planet for a viable future”. Emily Carr, head girl of St Barts School, also spoke to the crowd.
Sian Berry’s visit to Newbury follows one by Jonathan Bartley, her co-leader, in September – reflecting the progress made by the growing local Green Party as we move into the local election campaign.