ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners held a demonstration outside Southend Civic Centre demanding Southend become carbon neutral by 2030.

The Southend branch of the direct action group, known as Extinction Rebellion, demanded the council makes the pledge for 2030 and push the Government to move its pledge forward from 2050.

The motion was then put forward, by councillors Matt Dent, Carole Mulroney and Peter Wrexham, but the council refused to consider it at that meeting.

Instead it will go before the cabinet in September.

The three councillors, backed by the campaigners, called for the council to declare a “climate emergency”.

It followed previous calls from the council’s Labour leader Ian Gilbert.

Alicia Hegarty, 57, a founding member of Southend Extinction Rebellion, told the Echo a number of councils across Essex have already made the declaration and it is time Southend followed.

She said: “Colchester made a declaration on Wednesday night and Chelmsford did on Tuesday so we are really hopeful this will be supported - if it isn’t it will say a lot about the council.

“Making a declaration is not a magic wand but it is the first step and it prevents the council from moving away from this regardless of which party is leading the administration.”

Mr Dent called on the council to be a “beacon” leading the way in cutting emissions and tackling environmental issues.

He was unable to outline exactly how the borough could cut greenhouse gas emissions to almost zero in just over ten years but promised a number of new ideas will be revealed during a September cabinet meeting when the motion is discussed in detail.

Some of the green polices the council is working on include an aim to bring electric taxis and buses to the borough and improving infrastructure for electric vehicles by adding charging points.

Ms Hegarty said she hopes that it does not become a “political tick box”.

“We need to tackle this because we are already reaching tipping points,” she continued. Environment Secretary Michael Gove also called for targets to protect wildlife, as well as improve water and air quality, to be enshrined in law, during a speech last week which could be his last in the role.