Protesters from the Swindon branch of climate change group Extinction Rebellion had to be ejected after a short but noisy protest at the Swindon Borough Council meeting.

The public gallery at the Euclid Street chambers was well-attended at the start of the meeting where two motions about making the town, or just the borough council, carbon neutral within 10 years were due to be debated.

During public questions, a number were asked about progress towards such targets.

When the agenda moved on to debates, starting with one about condemning anti-Semitism, half a dozen of the members of the public stood up, banged pans to make a noise and one was chanting “public service.”

After five minutes they agreed to leave the public chamber accompanied by council security guards.

Other Extinction Rebellion branches have gone much further in disruptive action, including gluing themselves to the public gallery in County Hall in Gloucester.

A spokesman for the Swindon group said the protest was at what it sees as a “lack of ambition” by the council in addressing its emissions targets.

He said: “The proposal to reduce emissions by 80 per cent rather than 100 per cent by 2030 is too little, too late. We are calling for 100 per cent carbon reduction by 2025.

“Day after day we are seeing images of the devastating Australian fires. This is clear evidence that climate change is marching at a breakneck speed and these climate disasters are turning out to be in line with the predictions of scientists who were labelled extremists.

“The people of Swindon won’t be immune from the effects in future. Scientists fear that if more than one disaster hits areas from which we import our food, prices could skyrocket and products could disappear from our supermarket shelves.”

One of the group Tristan Strange added: “Relative to other parts of the world we have long enjoyed a lifestyle where we have freely been able to use a disproportionately large amount of fossil fuels, and that has led us to this crisis. We must pull our weight in the effort to stop climate breakdown – and this means setting a more ambitious target of 2025, and not 2030.”

The protest group was also critical of the decision of the councillors not to declare a “climate emergency” at a meeting a year ago.

Its spokesman said: “Swindon Borough Council is still refusing to call this an emergency in spite of over 200 other towns and boroughs announcing climate emergencies.

“To keep global temperatures below a 1.5 degree increase, carbon emissions must go down to zero by well before 2030.

“Even if we achieve this, scientists tell us that this will give us only a 67 per cent chance of avoiding climate catastrophe. That’s like playing Russian roulette with the pistol loaded with two live bullets. No government should play such a dangerous game with its citizens.

“We shouldn’t be dragging our feet. We need to lead the world into a sustainable future with the untold benefits that it will bring. This means urgently changing our economy to rise to the challenge, something that is necessary to give hope to our children.”

Councillors on the Conservative administration’s cabinet pointed out declaring a climate emergency and taking action that makes a difference are not necessarily the same.

Oliver Donachie said: “Our plan is realistic and achievable. We will achieve it, and that will bring other businesses and organisations with us to address the issue.”