There were 15 XR Wellingborough members and family and friends for a most successful peaceful protest on Saturday outside the Swanspool council offices on Saturday 30 May at 12.00. There were similar protests at the same time elsewhere in Northamptonshire and nationwide. We had banners and placards with our messages telling the council that we do not want to go back to normal when the Coronavirus crisis is over. It seems that the normal may have helped to cause the virus but certainly spread it globally with our over reliance on air travel. It seems clear that there have been more cases and deaths in areas with higher air pollution.
We stood in silence for 10 minutes and then had photos taken which were posted on social media. A reporter was there from The Northampton Chronicle and his report is on their website. You can read it by clicking on the headline on the left hand side of the page.
We contacted the Wellingborough police beforehand and I had a phone call with one of their officers about our proposal. Strictly speaking the protest was illegal as we were trespassing on council property and we were an assembly of more than two people, even though we arrived singly or in household groups, wore masks and gloves, were silent and stayed more than 3 metres apart. Although we are allowed to protest peacefully under the Human Rights Act this can be overruled under an emergency such as the Covid 19 situation. The officer had to consult with his superiors who did not ban the protest and he and a colleague were there, but stayed discreetly in the background as much to protect us against any possible troublemakers as to stop our protest getting out of hand. Luckily neither of these happened and we thank them for their support.
The protest will be following up by contacting the council and reiterating our demand for them to declare a climate emergency. Now that we have another year before the elections for the unitary authority and the town council we want the Wellingborough Borough Council to reconvene their climate change working group, to produce a new report on concrete proposals with measurable targets to reduce carbon emissions in Wellingborough. This should be followed by a council meeting so that action can be taken. There is a lot that the council can and should do in a year and they will leave their legacy for the new councils.
We will be meeting online to discuss our proposals which we will publish on this blog and on social media. In the meanwhile it would be great if you could send us your ideas for making Wellingborough a cleaner and greener place to live in. You might have a suggestion for the whole borough or an idea for something simple in your own area. We have all enjoyed the peace and quiet of the last few weeks, the sound of the birds and the cleaner air and we don’t want to go back to how it was before.