Eco activists rally before Moray Council declares nature emergency

CAMPAIGNERS gathered outside Moray Council’s HQ today, shortly before councillors agreed to declare a “nature emergency”.

Allan Gray says a few words...Climate activists gather outside the Moray Council HQ ahead of the February's full council meeting. ..Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Allan Gray says a few words…Climate activists gather outside the Moray Council HQ ahead of the February’s full council meeting. ..Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

Councillors, including Green Councillor Draeyk Van Der Horn (Forres), Councillor Juli Harris (SNP, Speyside Glenlivet), Councillor John Stuart (SNP, Buckie) and Councillor Neil McLennan (Independent, Buckie), were seen speaking to activists at the rally.

The Elgin demonstration was organised by the Moray Greens to support Cllr Van Der Horn’s motion to declare a nature emergency.

Members of Extinction Rebellion and the Moray Liberal Democrats also attended the gathering.

Cllr Van Der Horn thanked campaigners for supporting his motion and emphasised the urgency of action to protect nature.

He said: “It’s usual to have people coming out to stand outside Moray Council before a meeting.

“So for people to feel so strongly about it that they came along here today shows the level of support.

“For every one person here you can guarantee there are a hundred or a thousand who are completely aligned with the message that we are delivering today.

“This is about saying: ‘Look, we have not only got a climate emergency but also a nature emergency.’

“The life around us is under threat and when that is under threat, because let’s not forget that we are a part of nature, we are under threat.”

At the meeting yesterday (Thursday, February 2), members agreed to declare a nature emergency.

However, they also amended the motion to ask the Scottish Government for more funds to aid the Council’s response to the crisis.

Convenor of the Moray Green Party Allan Gray and Moray Liberal Democrat convenor Neil Alexander both gave speeches on the importance of protecting nature in the local area.

Local convenor for the Moray Greens Allan Gray said: “We need action.

“It starts with Moray Council asking how nature is affected by every decision it makes.

“The Council has a mandate to take action on this.

“I’m not here here because I don’t believe in Moray Council, I do believe in Moray Council.

“We are just looking for them to continue the strong work that has already been done through things like declaring a climate emergency.

“Thank you all for joining me and I hope the Council join us in declaring an emergency.”

Moray Liberal Democrat convenor Neil Alexander said: “This is an incredibly important motion and, as has already been said, our local and national natural environment is so, so important.

“This isn’t a problem just for us but also a problem which, unfortunately, our kids are going to inherit, our grandkids are going to inherit and their kids are going to inherit.

“More needs to be done locally and nationally, including doing planning permission with an environmental conscience, supporting people getting green jobs and insulating more homes which will also bring down energy bills.”

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