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BIRMINGHAM: Campaigners prepare for Birmingham COP26 rally

BIRMINGHAM: Campaigners prepare for Birmingham COP26 rally

Credit: Olly Armstrong.

Cheaper domestic flight plans are an “absolute joke”, a Birmingham councillor has said ahead of a city climate protest.

A rally is to be held at Millennium Point on November 6 alongside other protests across the country and a main event in Glasgow where the COP26 talks will be taking place.

The events are being organised by the COP26 Coalition, and Cllr Olly Armstrong (Lab, Northfield) is involved in the running of the Birmingham rally.

The city protest is due to include ten blocs representing different aspects of climate justice.

Cllr Olly Armstrong is standing down as a councillor next year to concentrate on climate activism.

He was particularly critical of the decision by the Government to drop the tax on domestic flights.

Air passenger duty was increased by £4 on “ultra-long” flights but only five per cent of passengers will pay more according to chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Cllr Armstrong said: “All across the UK, in unison with the real ginormous Glasgow rally, there will also be a Birmingham rally.

“It will be a gathering of feminists, antiracists, there will be a family bloc with people bringing kids.

“There will be singing and chanting and speeches. Climate justice is social justice for everyone – it’s trans rights, racial justice, women’s rights. The rights of the most vulnerable.

“My thoughts are not enough has been done. Every person in power right now and in the past five decades have all been told this is happening. Not enough has been done.

“Rishi Sunak has put out a budget that doesn’t mention climate or climate justice and is reducing tax on flying. It’s an absolute joke.”

Commenting on the city’s own climate response, he praised the route of the Route to Zero taskforce the Birmingham transport plan though said more needed to be done around cycle lanes.

But he said: “Council leader Cllr Ian Ward is not doing enough and I hope this event inspires him to do more.”

Nicky Manu, 20, a University of Birmingham medical student, has been involved in the organisation of a student bloc for the rally and will speak at the event.

She said legally binding targets were needed to prevent temperature rises while deadlines for action need to be brought forward.

She said: “We have previously had pledges and we have had targets but what would turn it into action is legally-binding targets.

“There needs to be some sort of law agreed with legal repercussions if Governments were not following it.

“Everything is being done for 2050 – we really need it to come forward to 2030, 2025.”

Chris Crean of West Midlands Friends of the Earth – who will also be attending the protest – said: “The UK government won’t be taken seriously on the climate crisis while it continues to fund fossil fuel developments overseas.

“Ministers must end these damaging investments completely, including pulling the plug on $1bn of public money pledged to help build a huge climate-wrecking mega-gas project in Mozambique.

“Instead, the UK government should increase climate finance and support for countries struggling with the impacts of climate breakdown and help them build the low-carbon economies that are so urgently needed.”

Words:  Mark Cardwell, Local Democracy Reporter

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