Students to march on Chorley Town Hall to push for 'climate emergency' declaration

Pupils and staff at Parklands High School ahead of Friday's protest
Pupils and staff at Parklands High School ahead of Friday's protest
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Pupils at a Lancashire high school are taking to the streets to pressure its council to declare a ‘climate emergency’.

Parklands High School will be marching on Friday as part of global ‘School Strike for Climate’ protests around the world – inspired by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg.

Pupils will be walking from the Chorley school in Southport Road to Chorley Town Hall – the home of Chorley Council – to show council leaders that they feel something needs to be done.

READ MORE: Schoolgirls banned from school prom after attending environmental protest instead of GCSE revision classes
Head teacher Steve Mitchell said: “I am really proud to lead a school with so many politically and environmentally engaged young people.

"They are tomorrow’s politicians, tomorrow’s leaders, tomorrow’s problem solvers, and it is only right they have their voices heard.”

Between 30 and 40 pupils are expected to take part in the demonstration, which takes place in the afternoon.

Pupils who take part in the demonstration have committed to staying for an extra hour after school to ensure there is no impact on their education.

In June, three schoolgirls from nearby Albany Academy in Chorley – Ellie Kinloch, Tyler McHugh, and Isobel Deady – were banned from their end of school prom after they skipped school for an environmental protest in Manchester city centre.

The story attracted national attention, with the girls receiving the support of the Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn.

READ MORE: Jeremy Corbyn backs Chorley teenagers banned from school prom over climate change protest
Katrina Dewhurst, who leads on envrionmental issues at Parklands, said: “We would like Chorley Council to declare a Climate Emergency due to the shocking state of our planet. If we do not act now, it is going to be too late.

"We want our children to have a voice regarding their future and feel that they can make a positive stance without fear of retribution.”

Coun Alistair Bradley, Leader of Chorley Council, said: “It’s great to see the school and the pupils that attend so passionate about this and the ‘green agenda’ is definitely something we are already supporting but are keen to do more with.

"Where our focus lies going forward is on how we can help and enable all residents to make small changes in their life that cumulatively can make a bigger difference.

"Making a grand gesture, such as declaring a climate emergency, in itself doesn’t necessarily encourage people to change their habits which is why we possibly haven’t done it so far.

"Instead we’re looking more towards a ‘green pledge’ for all of Chorley to set out our commitments that we’ll look to discuss when we agree our corporate strategy in November.

“As an organisation we can play our part by setting an example for others and we already do a lot to be more environmentally-friendly.

“For example, we have a fleet of electric vehicles, we have done work to our buildings to make them more energy efficient, including the installation of solar panels on the Town Hall, when procuring products we look to support sustainable sources where we can.

“Now it’s up to us to work with residents to see how the borough can do its bit and we’d really welcome the support and involvement of Parklands High School to do this.”