RYEDALE District Council (RDC) has declared a “climate change emergency” to reduce carbon emissions after calls by school pupils to back the proposal.

The Liberal Democrats at the council put forward the motion, which includes establishing a Climate Change Partnership Working Group, to a meeting of the full council last Thursday. They were supported by Nawton Primary School pupils who wrote letters to the council urging members to take action.

Councillors supported their proposals and recommended to the chief executive that she considers employing a dedicated officer to support this area of the council’s work. Members also agreed to embed environmental and climate change considerations into all work carried out by the council.

Cllr Steve Mason, who proposed the original motion on climate change and the environment earlier this year, said: “I’m delighted that RDC has declared a climate emergency and recognised that we need urgent action to reduce emissions.

“We have a huge amount of work to do, but this sends a clear message to residents that we actually mean business. It’s time for us all to work together as a community to deliver a carbon neutral Ryedale.”

Fellow Lib Dem, Cllr Di Keal, said: “This is a huge step forward for RDC - we have finally declared a climate change emergency and urged the chief executive to look at dedicated officer support to drive forward the council’s agenda on protecting our environment. Local people – including the wonderful children from Nawton Primary School – want action on climate change. People are waking up to this issue and RDC can and must play its part.

“We are pleased that the council will now be proactively looking at these issues and putting climate change and the environment very much at the forefront in everything we do in the future.”