Wokingham residents take climate emergency protest to Westminster

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Picture: The Diocese of Oxford

A GROUP from a Wokingham church joined more than 12,000 people to urge MPs to take action on climate change.

And one of the borough’s four MPs, Matt Rodda, praised the work of the campaigners.

The lobby, call The Time Is Now, was organised by a coalition of charities and faith organisations, advocating for the environment and for people across the world who are vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

The Wokingham campaigners – from All Saints Church – joined in with a walk of witness from Trafalgar Square to Church House in Westminster before hearing the views of an interfaith panel.

The Revd Hannah Higginson said: “In the end over 200 MPs were met and spoke to their constituents about climate change and the environmental issues surrounding it. A group of us from All Saints Church had contacted our MP John Redwood in advance.

“The organisers of the lobby had made careful arrangements to facilitate the opportunity for MPs to meet with constituents in spaces outside Parliament to overcome the large numbers. Many of MPs took advantage of this to reach out to their constituents and hear them, ensuring that their efforts in coming to Westminster were respected.

“John Redwood turned down this opportunity and instead offered us an appointment in Westminster Hall. We queued for an hour-and-a-half and arrived late for our appointment.

“Unfortunately, despite contacting John Redwood’s personal assistant from the queue, we – along with 12 other Wokingham residents who we met on our arrival – didn’t have a chance to speak with him on this occasion.

“However, the day was still a great success, and demonstrated just how many people are passionate about the UK taking a lead in working for climate justice.”

Part of the group representing Wokingham residents in Westminster

In a blog post, Sir John confirmed that he had met other constituents, adding: “I was unaware of the delays as Westminster Hall was full with other people visiting their MPs. I stayed there for half an hour in case others turned up. I was not told whilst waiting of the problems getting people in.”

Reading East MP Matt Rodda, whose constituency includes parts of Woodley and Earley, did manage to meet some of his constituents outside Parliament. He said that raised the need to embed environmentalism at the heart of the transport sector, focussing on his responsibilities as Labour’s Shadow Local Transport Minister, covering buses, taxis, walking and cycling.

He added: “The lobby was an important opportunity to highlight the need to tackle climate change. It is vital that we reduce emissions from transport as part of this and I was pleased to be able to listen to the views of residents and update them on Labour’s plans to take determined action.”

He added that the party had to deliver on this moral responsibility, and that it had pledged to decarbonise the transport sector, setting targets for reductions in transport emissions, and would adopt an ambitious programme of electrification of vehicles and trains.

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