HIGHWORTH Town Council officially declared a climate emergency after councillors faced off in a heated discussion about whether it was actually worth doing.

The town has taken a different approach to Swindon Borough Council, who has decided not to declare one.

Coun Kenneth Saunders suggested that the council should commit to going green then work out its plan of action, but others across the table argued that he had it the wrong way around - though all agreed that a declaration should be made at some point.

Coun Saunders said: “Central government declared a climate emergency on May 1, many parish councils have as well and a number of Highworth councillors and residents have mentioned it and feel we should do something about it.

"We have to take a step, we can't spend years looking at solutions, we don't have long and must start now."

Coun Maureen Penny countered: “Swindon decided not to declare one because of the expectations it would bring, though it is investing a lot of money into investigating everything that could be done, it is quite expensive.

"Surely we should come up with specific proposals and then agree to the declaration?"

Coun Simon Wolfensohn agreed: "I don't like gesture politics. We must do this the right way and come up with something, even just simple measures, before declaring anything."

Coun Richard Williams said: "I don't see anything wrong with declaring it. it just shows that we think the issue exists, we're not saying we have all the answers straight away.

"It makes sense to let the people of Highworth know that we need to do something about it."

An amendment to the motion to declare a climate emergency required that a working party to be immediately set up if it is declared so that ideas can be developed.

This change satisfied enough of the more cautious councillors and the motion passed by 10 votes to one, alongside two abstentions.

Members of the public and nearby businesses are welcome to suggest possible initiatives that would make the town more eco-friendly, like tree planting and

Coun Saunders added: “Now we can say that we are moving forward on this very serious matter.”