BURY Council declared a climate emergency at a town hall meeting last night.

Proposals to make the declaration were waved through together with an “aspiration” for Bury to be carbon neutral by 2030.

This comes after the local authority committed to becoming plastic free by 2022 earlier in the year.

The Labour motion mentions “positive examples” of progress within the borough but states that more needs to be done.

It said: “Unless action is taken at every level of government to do much more to drive cuts in emissions, the battle to tackle climate change will be lost.”

At least 175 local authorities in the UK have declared a climate emergency so far, according to Climate Emergency Declaration.

This has contributed to more than 600 cities in thirteen countries making the same declaration, according to the Labour motion.

It added: “These declarations are strong symbolic statements, but actions need to follow with the pace and scale of change accelerated in order to make the difference that is required.”

The motion proposes creating a cross-party stakeholder panel to develop a strategic plan and report back to the council in six months setting out immediate steps to be taken.

It also seeks to create climate environmental forums to develop a community response.

Conservative deputy leader Nick Jones said that the UK has been a "global leader" in tackling climate change and said that aspiring to become carbon neutral by 2050 is a "more achievable" goal.

But Lib Dem leader Tim Pickstone described Labour’s original proposal, aspiring to become carbon neutral by 2038, as "pathetic".

He said: "2038 is not ambitious enough. This is an emergency because we have not done anything about it.

"In 1979 this might have been a worry. In 2019 it is an emergency. In 2030 it is game over because this is when scientists tell us that climate change is irreversible damage. It is ridiculous to think that people not even born yet have to wait to be adults before we can achieve this.

"What do you do in an emergency? Greta Thunberg tells us that we need to act like our house is on fire. What you don't do in an emergency is set up a Working Group. We are making decisions every day that affect our climate and we need to change policies immediately." 

Councillors accepted the Lib Dem changes and the motion was carried unanimously.

The Lib Dem group also put forward proposals to ban re-usable clothes from bin collections.

Deputy leader of the group, Cristina Tegolo, told the Bury Times that the UK buys more clothes per person than any other country in Europe.

Brits discard around a million tonnes of textiles per year and around 300,000 tonnes of clothing ends up in household bins every year with around 20 per cent of this going to landfill and 80 per cent incinerated, according to the newly-elected Prestwich councillor.

She said: “Our motion, Fixing Fashion, focuses on the recommendations set out in the Fixing Fashion Report and highlights opportunities for the council to take action. If agreed Bury could be the first council in the country to ban re-usable clothes from our bin collections.”

This last motion was not discussed but approved at the suggestion of new council leader David Jones.