Councillors and civil servants alike awkwardly sidestepped their way around an environmental “die-in” protest outside a Dundee council meeting last night .
Members of several environmental groups including Extinction Rebellion (XR) Dundee, Friends of the Earth Tayside and the Dundee Scottish Youth Climate Strike group fell to the floor outside the Marryat Hall at 5.30pm yesterday.
They timed their action to coincide with the arrival of elected members and council officers, who would have to step over the individuals in order to access the building.
XR Dundee says the direct, peaceful protest was a response to the perceived inaction by Dundee City Council to respond to the climate emergency, which it formally recognised in June last year.
Spokeswoman Kate Treharne said: “It is a drastic step we’re taking but it’s also not drastic enough.
“The council is not working fast enough and they aren’t telling the truth to their staff or the people of Dundee – the truth being that this emergency is upon us now.
“Those who walked by us saw us but they couldn’t look us in the eye – they’re essentially not looking their own children in the eye to admit the problem.”
Only a handful of councillors stopped to speak to activists, who brandished signs criticising the council’s pledge to hit net-zero carbon emissions by 2045.
Some elected members and senior council staff chose to take a side door in order to avoid the activists altogether.
Council leader John Alexander pledged £100 million of spending for tackling the climate emergency earlier this year.
He said last month: “We are under no illusions that more has to be done but I hope that we’re sending a clear signal to the public and other partners that things need to change and investment is required as a result.”
However, there is a perception among activists that progress isn’t moving swiftly enough.
Doug McLaren, of Friends of the Earth Tayside, said: “Dundee is underperforming in terms of its commitment to the climate emergency, from the low emission zone to building regulations, carbon emission targets and waste.”