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Extinction Rebellion protest at Highland Council headquarters

By Federica Stefani

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Extinction Rebellion protesters in front of Highland Council headquarters. Picture: Gary Anthony
Extinction Rebellion protesters in front of Highland Council headquarters. Picture: Gary Anthony

A GROUP of environmental activists gathered this morning in Inverness to ask members of Highland Council's climate panel for urgent action.

Members of Extinction Rebellion (XR) Highlands and Islands were in front of the council's headquarters.

XR member Elliott Blaauw (66) said the council is not taking the climate emergency seriously.

He said: "The council declared the climate emergency at their own free will but then created a climate change panel which has been staffed with people who either do not know or do not care about climate change, and in nine months they have done nothing.

"The meetings are closed to the public and their minutes come up late, and the last session lasted only 35 minutes! This is not enough if we are talking about such an urgent matter.

"What we are saying is that they are not taking the issue seriously, this is just tokenism.

"They are building a new roundabout in Longman Road, and for what? So that people can get to work 10 minutes early? What about public transport and maintenance of existing roads?

"I know that the council is short of money, but everything that the council does take climate change into account, and they aren't at that point yet."

Another protester, Andrew Heath (40), a former professional in conservation, said: "The declaration of a climate emergency needs to transfer to different attitudes and decisions being made.

"One of the things that has come up recently and which will attest whether the council is taking these issues seriously is the proposed spaceport developments in Sutherland. This is something done to improve communications, but do we really need better communication at the expense of massive carbon release and the damage of massive carbon store at the site proposed to build it?

"The Highland Council are the people who are charged by society with the responsibility of thinking of this problem and making real-life decisions, not simply saying this brings money, this brings development or is good for jobs. They have got to deal with a far more complex world if we are all going to survive through this situation.

"Climate change will also lead to the spread of more diseases, as bacteria and viruses will be able to proliferate in areas where they had not been before. They reproduce and evolve much faster than our bodies can adapt to them, so this will become a real problem in a few years."

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