WALLINGFORD town councillors have debated whether to cancel the town's annual car rally, BunkFest music festival and even fireworks night in order to cut carbon emissions.

Councillor Stephen Beatty proposed a motion at a meeting on Monday to cancel all three annual events to comply with Wallingford Town Council’s declaration of a ‘Global Climate Emergency’.

Mr Beatty proposed the annual car rally be cancelled as the vehicles contribute to air pollution and global warming.

Read also: Nine coronavirus cases confirmed at Oxford BMW plant

In his motion, he said that the car rally had on average 400 petrol driven vehicles including tanks which ‘loiter’ and pump fumes into the environment.

Mr Beatty wrote: “With air quality already an issue in the town this cannot be justified especially in the time of a ‘Global Climate Emergency’ and directly contravenes the councils commitment ‘to become a carbon neutral organisation by 2030’.”

Herald Series:

The councillor had a similar problem with BunkFest. He wrote in the council meeting agenda that the festival is currently powered by diesel generators using 1,200 litres of diesel fuel.

He highlighted that litter and the 20,000 people who travel to BunkFest add to overall pollution.

The councillor also suggested that fireworks and wood burning were not in line with the council’s commitment to tackle climate change and should therefore be banned.

Read also: Could Trevor be the oldest Railway worker in Didcot?

In his motion, Mr Beatty wrote: “Burning a colossal pile of wood that could be recycled is simply not acceptable in a ‘Global Climate Emergency’.”

He also wrote about the environmental damage fireworks cause to the water supply and air.

Mr Beatty proposed that Wallingford Town Council should withdraw its commitment to the ‘Global Climate Emergency’, but still work with local groups to protect and improve biodiversity and sustainability as well as work with local event organisers.

Herald Series:

However, when it came to the meeting, councillor Beatty decided at the last minute not to make these points.

Councillor Ros Lester, who was at the meeting, said: “What happened last night is what should have happened – it was basically thrown out.

"When it got to the stage of proposing, the councillor who put it in there would not propose what he had asked to be on the agenda because he knew it was wrong.”

She added: “If Beatty had got his way on this, we would cancel Christmas as well, because we can’t have a Christmas tree and we can’t have lights. That’s the mockery he made of everything; it was unnecessary to worry the town.”

Mayor of Wallingford Lee Upcraft said: “At the last council meeting in May the council declared ‘climate emergency’.

"We also said we would take some pragmatic steps to do what we could to reduce our impact on the environment as a council and also that we would work with local organisations to help them be more mindful of the environment.”

He added: “There were some on the council that were not happy with that declaration and last night they sought to make a point that perhaps the major events we hold in town are not consistent with us declaring a ‘climate emergency’.”

For the declaration of the ‘Global Climate Emergency’ to be withdrawn, four councillors would need to give written notice, but this did not happen.

Read also: Oxford council tells Government 'deal with climate change better'

Mr Upcraft said: “Councillors almost unanimously recognised that the three main events mentioned were making actions off their own backs to reduce the emissions of their events and they are all taking steps and they are all aware of it. Council did not feel that those events are inconsistent with council declaring a climate emergency. In the end we did not vote on that resolution, so it was dropped.”

He added: “We debated it, but we decided it was not worth voting on. I think the councillor involved had made his point.”

However, there was a positive outcome to the meeting when the council agreed to set up a new working group.

Mr Upcraft said: "We confirmed that we would set up a working group to come up with pragmatic options to how we could address our commitment to the climate emergency.

"We are very mindful that we shouldn’t just declare this as some kind of virtue signalling thing, we need to come up with concrete proposals and that working party will be formed and it will bring sensible and pragmatic options to council."

The Herald attempted to contact Mr Beatty, but was told that he is ‘not doing interviews’.