Activists bid to make citizens arrest on East Riding council leader

Environmental activists will attempt to stage a 'citizens arrest' on a councillor leader prior to a local authority meeting amid claims of crimes against the climate.

Members of Animal Rebellion - sister group of Extinction Rebellion – will establish a ‘crime scene’ outside County Hall in Beverley on Wednesday, where they will be wearing white overalls and using crime scene tape, before the full council meeting at 2pm.

One member of the group will then attempt to carry out a citizen’s arrest on Coun Richard Burton, the leader of East Riding Council.

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The group say that it is over the authority's failure to declare a climate emergency and decisions which, the rebels say, create additional and unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions – such as the council’s support for fracking, industrial-scale animal agriculture and the over-development of green spaces.

Coun Richard Burton, leader of East Riding Council.Coun Richard Burton, leader of East Riding Council.
Coun Richard Burton, leader of East Riding Council.

In June, the Conservative group on the council were accused of ‘wrecking’ a motion to declare a climate emergency, proposed by Yorkshire Party councillor, Andy Walker, they added.

Jane Tredgett, Animal Rebellion Hull spokesperson, said: "Drastic times call for drastic measures. Coun Burton, as leader of the council, must be held accountable and accept responsibility for the recklessness of his party in ignoring the climate and environmental emergency. East Riding Council must declare a climate emergency and act accordingly; anything less in the face of the overwhelming scientific evidence would be criminally negligent. As things stand, the council is totally failing in its duty to protect its citizens.

"The EU, UK Government and over 260 councils have declared a climate emergency, including Hull City Council who voted unanimously in favour in March; Tory councillors in East Riding are in denial over the biggest threat we face in the world – they have their heads buried in the sand.

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"But it’s actually far worse than that – their track record of voting could make them a climate criminal council. For many years, Tory councillors have been have opposing wind farms (and losing expensive appeals) at the same time as facilitating extreme onshore oil and gas projects, such as at West Newton. Now, in the middle of the climate emergency, they are voting for intensive, industrial-scale pig farms – a huge source of greenhouse gases and eutrophication (algae blooms that choke the water, killing fish) and gas fired power stations."

The protestors added that they believe that there a number of laws under which it may be possible to arrest Coun Burton but they are most likely to attempt his arrest on suspicion of ‘public nuisance’.

East Riding Council declined to comment.