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Extinction Rebellion criticize Ipswich MP Tom Hunt for lack of action on climate emergency

PUBLISHED: 15:27 26 June 2020 | UPDATED: 16:36 26 June 2020

A letter to Ipswich MP Tom Hunt was presented at his office by Extinction Rebellion demonstrators. Picture: ANTONIA HOWARD

A letter to Ipswich MP Tom Hunt was presented at his office by Extinction Rebellion demonstrators. Picture: ANTONIA HOWARD

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Members of Extinction Rebellion walked to the office of Ipswich MP Tom Hunt yesterday to deliver a letter demanding he publicly take action on climate change.

Extinction Rebellion demonstrators marched to Ipswich MP Tom Hunt's office to demand action on climate change. Picture: ANTONIA HOWARDExtinction Rebellion demonstrators marched to Ipswich MP Tom Hunt's office to demand action on climate change. Picture: ANTONIA HOWARD

The Ipswich branch of the group, representing thousands of members, met at Majors Corner in the town and marched to Mr Hunt’s office with a large envelope containing their demands.

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The letter called for him to “publicly speak out on the government’s failings on the climate and ecological emergency and come clean with constituents that government inaction will lead to the death of millions”.

Dr Adam Whybray, a spokesman for the group, said: “One of the proposals on Tom Hunt’s website during the election was to establish a local climate change commission.

The open letter to Tom Hunt Ipswich MP was left pinned to his door by Extinction Rebellion. Picture: ANTONIA HOWARDThe open letter to Tom Hunt Ipswich MP was left pinned to his door by Extinction Rebellion. Picture: ANTONIA HOWARD

“I was told Mr Hunt would likely be in contact about it and yet I still haven’t received anything from him.

“He also spoke about tree planting in Ipswich which we is not something we’ve seen yet – so far there have been a lot of words but not much action.”

The group, who wore masks and complied with social distancing, did not inform the MP they would be coming to the office and when they arrived he was not present, leaving them to stick the letter to the front door.

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While Dr Whybray acknowledged the coronavirus pandemic has pushed many plans to one side, he said it has also presented an opportunity for action while there is less pollution and more focus on green spaces.

“We have a unique opportunity here to make change which we really need,” he added. “There is a £7million car park being planned and yet many places in Ipswich exceed the legal air pollution levels.”

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Mr Hunt was in Parliament at the time but said afterwards: “Climate Change is a major issue that we cannot escape and that must be addressed. The Government’s Net zero target by 2050 is in my view the right one.

Extinction Rebellion stuck a letter to Ipswich MP Tom Hunt on the door of his office today. Picture: ANTONIA HOWARDExtinction Rebellion stuck a letter to Ipswich MP Tom Hunt on the door of his office today. Picture: ANTONIA HOWARD

“We must take steps to address climate change whilst avoiding measures that would potentially seriously harm the economy. We face unprecedented economic challenges in the wake of Covid-19 and I believe that its very important to balance the need to tackle climate change whilst also taking steps that aid economic recovery.

“There are significant issues around air quality in town and addressing this needs to be a number one priority and further steps should be taken to encourage walking and cycling.”

He said he did not always support the national XR campaign and added: “The ‘direct action’ they have carried out in the capital and other cities has caused significant disruption to the lives of thousands of people and there have also been occasions where criminal damage has been committed during their protests.

“However I welcome the input from those who visited my office yesterday and I will be sure to provide them with a full response to their letter asap.”

The demonstration was planned to coincide with the publication of the Committee on Climate Change annual report to parliament which the group say is expected to show little progress has been made.

Dr Whybray said the most pressing issue they’re campaigning about is scientific findings that carbon emissions need to be reduced to zero much faster than the 2050 target to avoid dangerous global temperature rises and added: “There is an escalating catastrophe here.”


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