12 September 2019 Council and democracy

Council backs climate change protests

Brighton & Hove City Council supports the right to protest at the planned climate change event in the city on Friday 20 September.

The event organisers are liaising with Sussex Police to ensure its smooth-running and to facilitate peaceful protest and are also being supported by the GMB union to ensure the safety of people participating. 

The council’s education team is developing guidance for schools on how they might support their pupils to take part in the event.  The council’s advice is that schools should not release secondary age pupils to attend the event unless their parents/carers confirm that they are happy for their children to attend. 

In the case of primary age children, parents/carers would be expected to accompany their children at the event.

Ultimately decisions about whether school children attend the climate change event are a matter for individual headteachers, not the council. 

Councillors met on Thursday 12 September to consider a report on the preparations that have been made for the climate change event.

Council staff wishing to take part would be expected to take the time off as annual leave or flexi-time in the normal way, subject to operational requirements.

The council has also committed to supporting the United Nations e-learning Climate Change course, with a view to getting at least one teacher in every state school in the city trained up.

Council leader Nancy Platts said: “Climate change is a global crisis. In Brighton & Hove we recently declared a climate emergency and a commitment to go carbon neutral by 2030.

“We’re encouraging everyone who wants to protest about this crucial issue to have their voices heard. 

“I’d like to thank the GMB for their work behind the scenes to help make this happen.

“We’re also keen to support the UN climate change teaching initiative. It’s a fantastic opportunity for our schools, and I hope all of them will find a way of releasing at least one member of staff for the 15 hours of training that it requires.” 

Teenage climate change activists, Uma Krieger (14) and Annapurna Marley (18), spoke eloquently about the issues involved and the global situation as well as the city they live in.

Uma said: “We’re grateful for the invitation to speak at today’s meeting. We hope the councillors will continue to support our efforts in this global climate crisis.”