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Bradford Council "Fiddling While The World Burns"

Extinction Rebellion protest the Council's latest environmental measures.

Environmental protest group Extinction Rebellion claimed Bradford was “fiddling while the world burns” during a protest at a Council meeting.

Bradford Council’s Regeneration and Environment Scrutiny Committee received a report on what measures the authority was taking to deal with the climate emergency in Bradford on Wednesday evening.

A few minutes into the discussion, recorded violin music began playing in the meeting room. Two people stood and held up signs saying ‘Bradford fiddles while the planet burns’. They said the report was “chicken feed” and another, holding an open umbrella, shouted: “Act now, reject this report, it’s pathetic.”

Extinction Rebellion has held a number of local protests, including one in Shipley last month, but this is the first time they have taken such action at a meeting of Bradford Council.

In January Bradford became the biggest Council in the UK to declare a “climate emergency,” with councillors voting to take more “ambitious” measures to tackle climate change. But many councillors, including the local Green Party, had raised concerns that work was not being done fast enough.

At Wednesday’s meeting councillors received an update on what was being done to reduce carbon emissions.

Neill Morrison, Energy and Low Carbon Project Manager at the Council, said the authority was working on a number of schemes, including a £45 million project to replace every street light in the district with LED lighting, an £11.5 million “district heat network” that will create a low carbon heating system for a number of city centre buildings and creating more electric vehicle charging points. Members also heard that 20 charging points for use by taxi drivers will be installed in the coming months, with the first being on Vicar Lane.

He told members there was an “astounding” amount of work to be done to tackle the issue, adding: “I don’t think anyone realised how much work was required until we started looking at everything. It might take some time to create a full policy. It is not something we can do by ourselves.” He said organisations such as West Yorkshire Combined Authority, and Central Government, were needed to progress with some of the more costly projects.

Councillor Martin Love pointed out that the emergency was declared in January, and argued that Bradford should pick up the pace. He said: “The Council says this is an emergency, West Yorkshire Combined Authority says it’s an emergency, the Government says it is an emergency.”

The committee will hear regular updates on the Council’s policies to tackle climate change.

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