Mr Gildea said he welcomed the motion on the climate change crisis and urged members to be courageous and address the emergency. There could be no business as usual under the threat of such disaster and governments across the globe had only a matter of months to take action and prevent the extinction of the human race.
Mr Brett said ECC’s proposals on the future of library services in the county were ‘privatisation by stealth’ and there was no vision on how the library service would be run going forward. He said Stansted Mountfitchet had voted against the volunteer run libraries but the County Council had ignored them and gone over their heads. He said ECC were robbing the District of their libraries and warned that Saffron Walden and Great Dunmow would be next.
Mr Wing applauded the motion and said it had come at an apt moment; the International Climate Change report released the previous week had stated that there were only 18 months to divert a climate change catastrophe. He added that a United Nations biological report had identified an ecological crisis with may species under threat of extinction, leading to risks of a food shortage. Radical action was required. He said measurable and realistic targets needed to be established and monitored by the community, akin to Citizens’ Assembly established in France.
Ms Yellowlees said she had setup the Saffron Walden Action on Climate Change group which had 650 members to spread awareness of the current climate crisis. She listed the numerous activities the group had carried out to spread awareness and teach best practice, including speaking to over 4000 schoolchildren about the subject, but it was still not enough to create largescale change. Positive action needed to come from government to encourage individuals to make environmentally friendly and cost effective choices by default; everybody would be making environmentally friendly choices because it would be the most convenient option. She said the community needed to come together to make a difference.
Miss Gerard declared that she was a member of the youth council but was speaking in an individual capacity. She said time was running out to tackle the climate change crisis and action needed to be taken now. She said this crisis would primarily affect her generation and yet they had no voice at the table or a role in decision making. She said investment was needed in green technology such as electric buses. She asked members to support the motion and to act with a sense of urgency due to the ICC warning that we may only have 18 months before it was too late.
Mrs Caton said she was Chair of Stansted Mountfitchet parish council and had come to support the motion on libraries. She said Stansted PC were currently constructing a new library building for the village, an arrangement that had been discussed with ECC prior to their proposal to close down Stansted’s library. She took issue with the data used to justify the proposed closure of Stansted’s library as it had been taken when the library building had been closed and only a mobile unit was in operation. She had concerns regarding the ECC proposals as it allowed them to opt out of their statutory duty to provide library access to their residents, and would leave libraries staffed by volunteers and without resource. She urged members to support the motion.
Mr Everett said ECC had a statutory obligation to provide a library service to the people of Essex. Massive cuts to the service had hollowed out the library sector with reductions in staff, books and opening hours. The strategy proposed by the County would only accelerate the sector’s decline. He said the suggestion that E-libraries would improve the service did not conform to the experience of digital only libraries and he asked members to support the motion to halt the decline in the district’s libraries.