A climate emergency has been unanimously declared by Redbridge Council.

Climate change activists and local cycling groups gathered outside the town hall last night (Thursday, June 22) before full council to demand change.

The authority is one of hundreds of councils nationally to pass similar motions and apply pressure on the Government to take climate change seriously.

The motion, proposed by Cllr Paul Donovan and Cllr Jo Blackman of Wanstead Village ward, called for Redbridge Council to become carbon neutral by 2030, zero carbon by 2050, come up with a list of actions needed to reduce carbon impact, eradicate single use plastics and give advice to residents, among other steps.

Introducing the motion, Cllr Blackman said: “Climate change is arguably the biggest issue facing our planet today. According to scientists we are on the edge of the sixth mass extinction due to climate change and human driven habitat extinction. According to the most comprehensive assessment of biodiversity ever carried out – one million species are threatened with extinction.

“Droughts, floods, rising sea levels, extreme heat. Mass displacement of people due to their homes no longer being habitable and scarcity of vital resources. Children and the elderly dying from asthma attacks and breathing problems due to air pollution.

“This is not a dystopian future. This is the reality today of the impact of climate change, air pollution and biodiversity loss caused by human activity.

“And the effects of climate change are set to worsen significantly if the global climate increases beyond 1.5 degrees.

“We cannot say we did not know. The evidence is there. And when our children ask us what we did about it, what will we tell them?”

Cllr Donovan added: "The challenge is huge and we are running out of time. There are already encouraging signs in Redbridge, with some imaginative ideas contained in things like the Local implementation Plan on transport.

"But we need to go much further and much quicker – we are lagging behind neighbouring boroughs, which given the amount of green landscape we have in Redbridge is not impressive. So let’s pass this motion and then set about putting it into action."

In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a report showing the truth about the effects of climate change.

The world’s leading climate scientists have warned there are only 11 years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5°C.

After that, a rise of even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, and poverty for hundreds of millions of people across the globe.

Local Extinction Rebellion protesters that gathered outside the town hall were calling for urgent action to tackle the effects of man-made global warming.

Extinction Rebellion is a national campaign group that is applying pressure on central Government to declare a climate emergency, tell the truth about the seriousness of climate change, move to an economy that is not dependent on fossil fuels and reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025.

This group protested for more than a week in central London over Easter to demand immediate action.

Local cycling group, Redbridge Cycling, also joined the gathering outside the town hall, calling for more active forms of transport like walking and cycling to be added to the motion.

The motion was passed unanimously with all 58 councillors present voting in favour.