The deputy leader of Nottingham City Council has heaped praise on the Extinction Rebellion protestors, who blocked roads last month in protest at what they see as a climate emergency.
Now, Councillor Sally Longford has said she ‘admires them greatly’ and said she wants to work with them in the future.
In April, Extinction Rebellion’s Nottingham branch joined others around the country in blocking roads in protest at what they argue is a lack of action from national Government to tackle climate change and other environmental issues.
Councillor Longford, who represents Lenton and Wollaton East for Labour, was asked whether she agreed that it was striking how quickly the group, known as XR Nottingham, had changed the national debate about the environment.
She replied: “I’m so impressed with Extinction Rebellion’s activities, they are a non-violent movement, and they have attracted a huge amount of attention to the environmental movement and to the issue of climate change.
“This has led to a huge number of councils adopting a carbon neutral plan, and I admire them greatly.
“I hope to continue to work with them on a variety of issues as well as all sorts of other environmental groups in the city.
“We do need to engage with a huge variety of people, the environmental movement has been quite limited in its scope and its reach. I think David Attenborough has recently done quite a bit to address that nationally, education helps, but I think among older generations we need to get the message across that this will affect their children, their grandchildren, and what we do now really matters.”
Replying to this, councillor Phil Jackson, who represents Bilborough for Labour, said: “For too long we have left the energy market to the free market and it’s been a bit of a free-for-all out there.”
A spokesman for Extinction Rebellion Nottingham said: “We welcome the kind words from Councillor Longford and the work she has put in to date in order to pass the climate motion committing Nottingham City to become net zero in emissions by 2028.
“We must now see urgent actions to back up these encouraging words.
“With Oxford’s council recently confirming the creation of a Citizen’s Assembly on Climate Change and with the London Assembly and central Government out to consultation on the same, Nottingham City can make a huge statement of intent by appointing the same structure as soon as possible.
“Extinction Rebellion Nottingham is looking for the council to also back the divestment of their pension funds – which are currently held with the county council – from all fossil fuels, and we hope that Councillor Longford along with all Nottingham City councillors will sign up to a pledge reflecting this.
“We encourage all local councillors to read up on the climate and ecological emergency we are currently in and invite them to attend any of our talks to find out more about Extinction Rebellion and what action we are calling for to address these issues as a matter of urgency.”
In April, Nottingham XR protestors blocked busy streets including London Road, Collin Street and Maid Marian Way.
In London, more than 1,000 people were arrested for protesting at significant parts of the city, including Oxford Circus, the London Stock Exchange, and Vauxhall Bridge.