Cheers and applause rang out in county hall as Wiltshire Council declared a climate emergency after campaigners urged councillors to ‘think about their grandchildren and think about tomorrow.’

The vote over climate change was made following a day of peaceful protests outside County Hall in Trowbridge on Tuesday, February 26.

After an intense debate for over an hour, councillors were split nearly down the middle with 36 councillors supporting and 32 opposing the motion to declare a Climate Emergency.

Wiltshire Council joins around 20 other councils including North Somerset and Bristol Council which will now work to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Cllr Brian Mathew said: “This gets right to the heart of the issue. People are talking about their grandchildren thinking about tomorrow. We have a chance to do something, it sets up a mechanism for how we can find solution. Think global act global, let’s do it.”

Cllr Sarah Gibson said: “The only way we are going to get close to change is if we take it seriously. And that is why we need to call it an emergency. These are the aims and aspiration we can work to. If you want to see a carbon neutral house you can come to mine it is simple and easy to do.”

While some Conservative councillors agreed with the motion, including Cllr Mary Douglas and Cllr Stuart Wheeler, who confirmed the debate had swayed his views, some opposed the motion.

Cllr Ian Blair Pilling said: “I do not understand how the target to be carbon neutral is achievable so I will join the others in voting about what we can do instead of supporting somewhat wishful words.”

Responding to the call to make the county carbon neutral by 2030, Cllr Phillip Whitehead added:"I have problems with pledges we are not in control with.

"We are making promises we cannot keep.

"I do not like showboating and want actions not words.

"Lets have action not words."

One supporter responding to the decision said: “It is so important what you have done today. We have either be heroes or villains and you turned out to be heroes.”

A second motion was approved that will explore what Wiltshire Council can do to improve its work to be environmentally-friendly, which could see a cabinet position created with responsibility for environmental issues.