South Gloucestershire Council has declared a climate emergency in the week that Extinction Rebellion protesters have caused chaos in Bristol city centre.

Councillors unanimously passed a motion declaring the emergency at a meeting last night (Wednesday).

The motion included the commitment to make South Gloucestershire carbon neutral by 2030.

Steps that will be taken to achieve this include working with the West of England Combined Authority to fight for more local powers and government funding, as well as updating the South Gloucestershire climate change strategy to reflect the increased urgency.

Progress on this work will be reported back at the full council meeting in December.

Leader of the council and Conservative group, Toby Savage, said: “I welcome the constructive way this council has been able to address this important topic which transcends party politics. Our climate does face serious challenges and I am pleased we have been able to work together to meet them head on.

“This council has made significant steps towards decreasing its carbon emissions in the past few years, reducing our emissions by half over the past decade and of that we can all be very proud, but with more and more conclusive physical evidence and academic research highlighting the intensifying problem, there is a clear need to do more, and quicker.

“Emissions across South Gloucestershire are not substantial compared to elsewhere in the world, or even this country, but this is not an excuse to bury our head in the sand. It is our responsibility to lead by example.”

Leader of the Liberal Democrat group, Claire Young, said: “I am proud to have proposed this motion and I am very grateful that all parties have got on-board to ensure that South Gloucestershire Council provides a united front on this most critical of issues.

"The work needed to make South Gloucestershire carbon neutral by 2030 is very significant. But with this motion, we have taken the first important step by providing the political leadership and saying: ‘this must happen.’ To do any less would be a dereliction of duty to our children and to future generations.

Leader of the Labour group, Pat Rooney, said: “This will be a challenging goal, however the evidence that has been presented to us shows that this is the only sensible and responsible course of action if we stand any chance of preserving our environment for future generations.

"I am pleased that the three political groups on South Gloucestershire Council have worked together to reach a unanimous agreement to achieve net zero emissions by 2030.”