WITH Islanders preparing to march for climate change on Friday, the Isle of Wight Council has said it will not declare a climate emergency.

So far, 39 councils — including nine Tory administrations — have declared a climate emergency, including the Greater London Authority, Devon County Council and Edinburgh City Council.

However, cabinet member for environment and heritage, Cllr John Hobart, said there were no plans to follow suit on the Isle of Wight.

Cllr Hobart said: “The administration has no current plans to consider the merits or otherwise of declaring a climate change emergency.

“It has other priorities which it wishes to address using the council’s limited financial resources. This includes preparation of a local environment action plan as a product of the council’s recent environmental conference.”

The council said it was already involved with a number of initiatives to help the climate, including recycling, the installation of electric vehicle charge points, a home insulation scheme and supporting the plastic free Island campaign.

This Friday (March 15) students from across the globe will walk out of lessons to urge political leaders to take action against climate change.

Inspired by the words and actions of 16-year-old Swedish schoolgirl, Greta Thunberg, 15,000 children across the UK took part in the national strike in February.

Isle of Wight Green Party and Extinction Rebellion spokesperson, Vix Lowthion, said it was disappointing council leaders refused to acknowledge there was more to be done to protect the planet.

She said: “Recycling our waste will not solve the climate crisis alone — there are a mountain of additional initiatives which they must take.

“Conservative councils across the country, from Devon to Scarborough, have declared there is a climate emergency.

“We need to reduce our carbon emissions to net zero by 2030 and put pressure on national government to fund initiatives to promote local food, renewable energy and cycle infrastructure.”

Ms Lowthion said the costs to the council would be ‘minimal’ but the impacts would be huge.

She said: “I hope councillors can meet with children and families next Friday as part of the global Youth Strike and explain directly, face to face to them how they think they are already doing enough.

“Our Conservative council’s refusal to take action to tackle the climate crisis will be a legacy which comes back to haunt them. Three-hundred Islanders took to the streets last weekend to demand action and support from their elected leaders — their inaction will not be tolerated.”

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