PEOPLE in Hexham showed they were striving to make a difference on environmental issues after a meeting brought over 150 people together to discuss what could be done to tackle climate change locally.

At the meeting at St Mary’s Church Hall last Thursday, organised by the Hexham Branch of the Labour Party, following the publication of a proposed policy document, Labour’s Green New Deal, attendees supported the idea of organising a tree planting day throughout the county, which is now to be arranged.

This was following a talk by the chairman of North-East Nature Partnership and former MEP, Paul Brannen, where he explored the need for forestry to change in the UK, with more trees not only being the best way to absorb carbon, but also allowing the UK to move towards producing more of its own timber for building construction.

He also talked about the need for farming to adapt to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss. Attendees included members of the public as well as representatives from climate action groups including Extinction Rebellion and Climate Action Northumberland, and other talks were given by North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll and Hexham Constituency prospective Labour Party candidate, Penny Grennan.

Other subjects covered included sustainable models of construction and transport, while Penny Grennan highlighted the need to measure all policy making in the light of the impact on climate change and sustainability.

Concerns were raised that Hexham Town Council had failed to declare a climate emergency, and at Monday night’s town council meeting members of Extinction Rebellion North East attended to demand that the council did so.

Mayor of Hexham, Bob Hull, said the council would discuss the possibility. He added that a steering group had been set up to address the issue.