CLIMATE change protesters will take to the streets of York this evening in a twilight procession to highlight the risk of losing biodiversity if homes are built on the Askam Bog site.

The parade, which is scheduled for 5.30 pm in parliament street, is the latest direct action to be taken by Extinction Rebellion York, a regional branch of the international movement which uses non-violent civil disobedience in the face of an unprecedented global climate emergency.

The group will be carrying giant, leaf-like lanterns, previously used in a visually stunning display at Askham Bog last Saturday, to raise awareness about protecting the area against potential development plans.

Developer Barwood Land is behind the scheme for the site off Moor Lane, Woodthorpe, to build 500 new homes.

Its planning application was unanimously rejected by City of York Council’s planning committee in July but the developer has appealed against the decision, and the matter is to go to a three public inquiry next month.

Barwood has claimed the housing development would “offer protection to Askham Bog for future generations” and help address York’s housing crisis, but thousands have opposed it, and naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough recently made fresh calls for “all those who love the natural world” to help fight the plans, which he claimed put the bog under threat.

Extinction Rebellion York said efforts to protect the area led to the creation of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust in 1946, and today the site was home to rare species and an abundance of wildlife that could no longer be found elsewhere, including water beetles, birdlife, and herbaceous plants.

Member and event organiser Catherine Heinemeyer said: "David Attenborough has called Askham Bog a 'cathedral of nature conservation'.

"We don't have many of these left in our urban areas and in many rural areas dominated by intensive agriculture.

"That's one of the key reasons why the planet is in the early stages of its sixth mass extinction."

She said XR York was seeking to join with other environmentalist groups and work together to protect and promote the rich biodiversity on the city's doorstep.

She added: "We need to make rewilding an urgent priority, and do everything we can to protect and extend existing areas of habitat for endangered species - not threaten them with development."

The group will be carrying lanterns, each ranging between 1.5 - 2m in length, ti represent the rare Royal Ferns that can be found at Askham Bog and were made by an arts team of all ages.

The environmental group said that they will make formal gifts of the lanterns to councillors to thank them for voting against housing development plans to build 500 homes near the site.

Members of XR York will parade the lanterns from York St John to the Citadel on Gillygate, arriving in time for the Full Council meeting at 6 pm.