HAMPSHIRE County Council has declared a climate emergency, pledging to make Hampshire carbon neutral by 2030.

The new stance came at Monday's cabinet meeting in Winchester, which discussed a motion by Liberal Democrat councillor Martin Tod.

The Conservative-controlled county is now among the several local authorities across the country, including Winchester City Council, to have declared a climate emergency.

The council is expected to report within six months setting out the immediate actions it will take to address the emergency and a plan to measure annual progress.

HCC has also pledged to work with partners across the county and the region to deliver its new goal and vowed to actively lobby the Government to provide the additional powers and resources needed to meet the 2030 target.

Cllr Keith Mans, leader, said: “The Climate Emergency programme has gathered pace and profile at a rapid rate. In the last few days, the Government has announced a UK target of net zero greenhouse gases by 2050 and we are committed to ensuring Hampshire plays its part. It is clear that action on the scale required to meet the urgency of this global challenge can only be achieved if we all commit to lasting change.

“In Hampshire, this means not only building on our achievements in reducing carbon emissions in recent years, but also being absolutely clear on effective actions we can take to reduce our carbon footprint and make Hampshire more resilient to the effects of climate change already in the system. Our aim is to leave the county in a strong and sustainable position for future generations.”

Before the meeting a group of Extinction Rebellion held a demobnstration ouside The Castle, waving flags and holding a large banner.

After the meeting Cllr Tod said:"It's two steps forward and one step back. I'm pleased that the council cabinet has responded to the motion I proposed by recognising the climate emergency and setting a target of zero net carbon. But the original motion asked them to agree a target date to achieve it by and that hasn't happened. My goal now is to get the council to commit to an ambitious timing to deliver the target that's been agreed and a robust action plan to achieve it - and not just for the council, but also for the county as a whole."

Friends of the Earth in their submission to cabinet said: "We are concerned that the report is rather too cautious in its approach, seemingly suggesting that the difficulty somehow diminishes necessity. There can be no doubting of the necessity for action at every level of government and society. Nor can there be any doubting of the urgency of the need for action."