Scarborough Council declares Climate Emergency in first major step to combat global warming

Scarborough Council will look to send a signal to other local authorities around Yorkshire and the country by declaring a “climate emergency”, in an unprecedented move to tackle global warming.

Greens Councillor and deputy mayor Dilys Cluer’s climate-focused motion passed following a lengthy period of debate at Monday’s full meeting of council.

Climate activists in Scarborough campaign for a Climate Emergency to be declared.

Climate activists in Scarborough campaign for a Climate Emergency to be declared.

It means the seaside council will now declare a state of “climate emergency” – as well as committing to a target of zero carbon emissions by 2030, and seeking up to £80,000 in funding over two years for a sustainability officer to help achieve their goals.

Speaking on her motion, Coun Cluer said the action would allow Scarborough Council “the chance to play a small part in building a more secure future for this planet”.

“We are a district council, in a small country in global terms, but this climate emergency depends on action from all,” she said.

Coun Cluer said the town’s position on the coastline made it particularly vulnerable to the impacts of global warming – including flash flooding, coastal erosion, and extreme heat or rain events.

She added that the motion would allow the council to send a message to other local authorities by tackling the issue with “proper resolve”.

In response, deputy leader Coun Helen Mallory said that although she believed Coun Cluer “should be commended” for her work on addressing climate change, she thought an amended motion could make “better use of resources”.

Coun Mallory instead suggested the issue should be tackled in conjunction with North Yorkshire County Council and fellow district authorities, with funding for the sustainability officer position to be debated in an overview and scrutiny committee.

The amendment was rejected by Coun Cluer, who said the motion had to be passed now if it were to progress through the budget process.

“It’s crucial to get this through now if we are going to have any money to do anything,” she said.

Shortly after the amendment was rejected, Coun Cluer’s original motion passed to cheers from the sitting public.

Many of the cheers belonged to members of the environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion Scarborough, which had earlier held a boisterous protest out the front of the council chambers in support of the motion.