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Islington Town Hall furious at Extinction Rebellion disruption threats

The areas that could be targetted are Old Street roundabout, Angel crossroads and Highbury Corner.

17 September, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

Extinction Rebellion protesters in Islington earlier this month. Credit: Talia Woodin @taltakingpics (29)

HE Town Hall leader has lashed out against Extinction Rebellion activists as they threaten the council with “targeted acts of disruption” across the borough if demands are not met.

A public letter was delivered to the council this week by the Islington branch of the environmentalist group accusing the Town Hall of a lack of “significant” action following the much-trumpeted Climate Emergency declaration in June.

A list of demands were made and if there is “no evidence” these are being addressed by the next full council meeting on September 23 then key transport junctions in Islington will be disrupted in the coming weeks.

Extinction Rebellion’s (XR) demands include switching to a 100 per cent renewable electricity supplier for all council buildings and homes by the end of the year, and appointing a councillor to solely focus on keeping the public informed on the council’s progress towards making the borough carbon neutral by 2030.

An XR source said the areas that could be targetted are Old Street roundabout, Angel crossroads and Highbury Corner.

He added: “The council need to get over this bunker mentality of not listening to anyone.”

Town Hall leader Richard Watts responded with fury to the threats.

He claimed that the council and XR had been working well together in the past few weeks.

He added: “It is therefore extremely disappointing to have received an email from you which does not reflect the positive interactions we have so far enjoyed. I want to be clear that whilst we welcome scrutiny of the council and elected members, and fully support people’s rights to engage in citizen activism, we will not make decisions that affect the lives of local people in response to threats, deadlines or demands.”

Cllr Watts said that buying 100 per cent renewable electricity would increase costs by more than £235,000 a year, which leaseholders and council tenants would have to foot.

Environment chief Cllr Claudia Webbe would be the public’s point of contact for information on the council’s efforts to meet the 2030 target, Cllr Watts said.

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