The leader of Dundee City Council has insisted the authority is “not complacent” about climate change after eco-activists accused it of doing the “bare minimum” to protect the environment.
John Alexander said the council recognised the impact it had on the environment after environment body Extinction Rebellion claimed it wasn’t doing enough.
The Dundee branch of the group picketed the council chambers this week to draw attention to climate change, imploring the authority to declare a “climate emergency”.
It has launched an online petition to back up its letter, which has accrued more than 230 signatures.
Mr Alexander, leader of the SNP-led administration, has not directly responded to the group’s demands.
He said: “We all have an individual and collective responsibility to do more. That is why we have been leading the country in the use of electric vehicles in our fleet and why I have personally replaced two petrol cars with one electric.
“It’s why we have invested heavily in energy efficiency measures for our housing stock, why we support active travel in and around Dundee and why we have taken steps to reduce our single-use plastics, among many other environmental initiatives.
“But we are in no way complacent and we are continuing our efforts as a council to minimise the impact of our activities.”
Extinction Rebellion wants local and national governments to commit to a target of zero net carbon emissions by 2025.
The council’s current Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP) aims to achieve this by 2050 – but was branded the “bare minimum” by the pressure group.
Michael Cummins, of Extinction Rebellion Dundee, said: “What the council has done so far are positive movements that we support.
“But we don’t think any of these, including its SECAP, will come anywhere close to dealing with the climate crisis. There is a lot more that needs to happen.”
Councillor Kevin Keenan, Labour group leader, said the group was “pushing at an open door”.
“Most individuals realise that there is a lot of damage being done to our environment,” he said.
“Climate change is something that shows no boundaries and is something that governments need to step up to. For Dundee City Council to take forward the suggestions of the group, there needs to be a political consensus. I would hope that this could be achieved.”