A 10ft-tall, Bishop's Castle-made model polar bear took centre stage at a climate change protest on Thursday (September 23).

The bear was brought to a meeting of Shropshire Council by members of Extinction Rebellion Shrewsbury, who staged a mass ‘die in’ outside Theatre Severn, accompanied by a troupe of ‘Red Rebels’ and Clarion the polar bear, a sculpture by Bishop’s Castle artist Bamber Hawes.

The group said it wanted to remind councillors of the urgent need to put the climate change at the top of the authority’s agenda, saying not enough had been done since the council declared a climate emergency in 2019.

A motion tabled at the meeting calling on the council to bolster its climate change task force and introduce a host of other measures was unanimously supported.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Extinction Rebellion spokesperson Jo Blackman said: “It’s been over two years since Shropshire Council declared a climate emergency and we are yet to see any robust action to reduce the county’s emissions.

“The latest United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report warned that we are in a ‘Code Red’ for humanity.

“We need to slash emissions by 50 per cent by 2030. Shropshire Council isn’t meeting the scale of the challenge here in the county.”

“The climate crisis is on our doorstep. In the last few months we’ve seen record wildfires in the US, devastating floods in Europe, and decimated wheat harvests causing global price spikes.

“A recent studied showed that climate change is linked to five million deaths a year.

“Shropshire won’t escape any of this.

“Yet, instead of slashing the county’s emissions, Shropshire Council is actively increasing them through its policies.

“They’re still committed to the North West Road, despite the fact it will take over 130 years to be carbon neutral, they’re still investing their pensions in fossil fuel companies, they’re still not building zero carbon homes, and they still haven’t given their support to the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill, even though all it requires is the cost of a stamp.”

Shropshire residents from Oswestry, Ludlow, Bridgnorth, Bishop’s Castle and Clun were among the protesters calling on Shropshire Council to do more to tackle the emergency.

Janet Lewis from Llanfair Waterdine said: “I’m here because climate action has to happen locally as well as globally.

“People say, ‘what about China?’, but the UK is the second biggest historic emitter of CO2 after the US and we have a duty to lead the way.

“The Industrial Revolution began in Shropshire and the county could be leading the world again in the transition to a healthier, more sustainable future for all.

“But we can’t do that if Shropshire Council keeps blocking climate action.”

At the meeting, Labour councillor Rosemary Dartnall, who represents Bayston Hill, Column and Sutton, said it was time the council said it was time for the council to start taking the climate crisis more seriously.

Her motion proposed expanding the council’s climate change task force, bring in training on the subject for all council departments and get stricter on contractors’ climate mitigation measures.

Fellow cabinet member Councillor Dean Carroll proposed an amendment, to have quarterly reports rather than monthly, and this was accepted by Councillor Dartnall.

The amended motion was unanimously supported.