United Kingdom: Scarborough Borough Council declares a climate emergency

Extinction Rebellion Scarborough campaigning at the Council building

As the 11th council in the United Kingdom, conservative-controlled Scarborough Borough Council has declared a climate emergency.

A motion from the authority’s two Green Party Councillors, Councillor Mark Vesey and Councillor Dilys Cluer, was passed on 7 January 2019 by a meeting of the council.

The motion asks Council to commit to making the borough carbon neutral by 2030, and asks for the council to spend £80,000 (AUS$142,500) to fund a new job role of a Sustainability Officer for two years to help achieve that goal, although the money has yet to be approved.

“Of course to start with we can do obvious things such as more insulation, planting trees, better public transport, less meat and educating our citizens about what is necessary. That will not be enough on its own, but at least it is a start. Can our leaders nationally be convinced that things have to change drastically? Well, maybe if enough people locally recognize the emergency, politicians will dare to change.”
~ Councillor Dilys Cluer


The full motion commits Scarborough Borough Council to:

1. Declare a ‘Climate Emergency’;

2. Pledge to do everything within the Council’s power to make the Borough of Scarborough carbon neutral by 2030.

3. Call on Westminster to provide the powers and resources to make the 2030 target possible;

4. Work with other governments (both within the UK and internationally) to determine and implement best practice methods to limit Global Warming to less than 1.5°C;

5. Continue to work with partners across the borough and region to deliver this new goal through all relevant strategies and

6. Submit a bid as part of the Council’s budget setting process for an additional £80,000 to fund a ‘Sustainability’ Officer Post for a two year period to champion the scoping and delivery of the Borough Council’s Carbon Neutral 2030 commitment.


It is proposed that the additional cost is funded from the overachieved budget savings in 2019/20 currently held in the budget proposals as a contingency.

“We are a district council, in a small country in global terms, but this climate emergency depends on action from all.”

“The IPCC warning in the autumn was a spur to action,” Cluer continued. “I have been worried about climate change for around 35 years and saw this as a last-ditch opportunity. And just after we had decided to put the motion, we were urged on by the local Frack Free Scarborough group. On the day many of them (some re-branded Extinction Rebellion Scarborough) demonstrated outside the Town Hall and some came to observe the meeting from the gallery, which may have helped.”
~ Councillor Dilys Cluer

» Scarborough News – 8 January 2019:
Scarborough Council declares Climate Emergency in first major step to combat global warming
“Scarborough Council will look to send a signal to other local authorities around Yorkshire and the country by declaring a “climate emergency”, in an unprecedented move to tackle global warming.”


In the UK, Bristol City Council was the first to make the declaration in November 2018. Since then, the Forest of Dean, Brighton and Hove, the London Assembly and eight other town, city, borough and district councils have passed motions declaring climate emergencies.

» Green World – 8 January 2019:
Scarborough latest to pass Climate Emergency motion
“11 UK councils have now passed motions to declare a Climate Emergency and become carbon neutral by 2030.”


The photo above is an excerpt from a larger photo posted at Extinction Rebellion Scarborough’s Facebook group