Campaigners call for more face-to-face dialogue after not being allowed in Coventry and Warwickshire Climate Change Conference - The Coventry Observer

8th Aug, 2022

Campaigners call for more face-to-face dialogue after not being allowed in Coventry and Warwickshire Climate Change Conference

ENVIRONMENTAL groups and campaigners have called for more public discussion on climate change and have criticised Coventry and Warwickshire councils for not letting more people into a conference held last week on the issue.

Activists said they applied to attend the Coventry and Warwickshire Climate Change Conference but were told they were not able to.

And they added, although they were given a link so they could stream it online, it was not the same as being there and being able to participate in the important discussion. They also pointed out the video offered was just that and did not even allow for ‘virtual interaction’.

They claim the Slate at Warwick University – where the combined Warwickshire County Council and Coventry City Council event was held – was capable of holding 400 people but fewer than 100 were able to attend.

One of the activists Merle Gering said more urgent action was needed on what was a climate emergency.

“We only have three to four years to deal with these issues.

“This is nowhere near good enough.

“There needs to be more events where the public can have their say, put forward their ideas – to let people be part of the process.”

A protest outside the venue was held by a number of groups, including CPRE Warwickshire, Keep Our Green Belt Green, Green Parties in Coventry, Nuneaton and Bedworth, The Tree Wardens, Coventry Climate Action Network, Extinction Rebellion Coventry, Friends of The Earth and more.

A Warwickshire County Council spokesperson said the event was aimed at bringing together local authorities in the county and Coventry to agree collaborative working and information sharing to address the challenges of climate change and was an ‘invite only’ event.

They added the capacity on the Slate at Warwick’s website referred to different types of events and, because this one featured ‘break-out groups’, it needed more space and less people.

The authority added there would be more ongoing engagement with interested community groups starting with a webinar on March 29 to follow up on the conference.

“Community groups are welcome to join us then to hear our reflections from the conference and contribute to the ongoing discussions.

“The invitation for this event has been sent to anyone who expressed an interest in attending the conference and we look forward to hearing their ideas at that meeting.”

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