A FORMER MP and current county councillor has called for a “climate emergency” to be declared in Somerset.

Councillor Tessa Munt represents the Wells division on the county council, having previously represented the parliamentary seat of the same name between 2010 and 2015.

Ahead of the next full council meeting – where the authority’s budget will be decided – Ms Munt has lodged a motion calling on Somerset to take urgent action against climate change.

This comes after the Extinction Rebellion movement held a protest in Yeovil in late-January, which was attended by around 100 people.

Ms Munt published the full text of the motion on her website on Wednesday (January 30).

She said: “I call on Somerset County Council to declare a climate emergency and initiate a massive society-wide climate action mobilisation.

“Human activity has already caused irreversible climate change, the impact of which is felt around the world.

“Global temperatures have increased by over 1 C from pre-industrial levels.”

She warned the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere already exceeded the “safe” level for humanity, and that by 2030 the world would “overshoot” the 1.5 C limit for temperature rises set by the Paris Agreement.

She called for each individual to cut their current annual carbon emissions from 6.5 tonnes to two tonnes, to “reduce the chance of runaway global warming and limit the effects of climate breakdown”.

She added: “Individuals can accept responsibility for living in a more sustainable way, but cannot be expected to make these changes on their own.

“Somerset, with its long coastline and large low-lying areas across the Levels and Moors, is particularly vulnerable to effects of climate change.”

Ms Munt’s motion follows a day of action by Extinction Rebellion, which is using non-violent resistance to persuade the government to take urgent measures to prevent climate change.

Organisers claimed around 100 people turned out to protest in Yeovil on January 26, including four who were arrested by police.

Ms Munt has called on the council to agree the following actions:

Declare a “climate emergency” with immediate effect

Work proactively to make Somerset carbon-neutral by 2030

Lobby the government for the “creation, provision or devolution of powers and resources” to make this possible

Sign up to the Local Government Association’s Climate Action Local Plan, which was written in 2012

Work with its partners within the county and the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership area to deliver these goals

Help communities to become “more resilient to the impacts of global warming, particularly to flooding and to drought”

Report back at the end of 2019 with progress made to date

Bristol City Council passed a similar motion in November 2018, which followed a commitment by Andy Burnham, the major of Greater Manchester, that he would make his city carbon-neutral by 2040.

The full council meeting at which the motion will be debated will take place at Shire Hall in Taunton on February 20, beginning at 10am. The public are welcome to attend, but are advised to arrive early due to security checks and limited space in the public gallery.