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Hundreds join Hurst Castle parade and vigil calling for COP26 climate change action



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HUNDREDS of environmentalists gathered in Milford to call on delegates at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow to take action to stop rising sea levels.

The protest on Sunday saw more than 100 campaigners holding banners march along Hurst Spit to the castle, which has been badly damaged by storms.

It was followed by a vigil, speeches and songs on the village green attended by a further 150 supporters, including a delegation from Friends of the Earth Southampton, who arrived on a fleet of bicycles.

Hundreds joined the COP26 protest to Hurst Castle organised by New Forest Friends of the Earth
Hundreds joined the COP26 protest to Hurst Castle organised by New Forest Friends of the Earth

Joint organisers Ben Collins and Fiona Rogers, of New Forest Friends of the Earth, described the catastrophic damage to Hurst Castle – in which a wall collapsed into the sea early last year – as a wake-up call for local communities.

Fiona said: “The event took a lot of organising behind the scenes but it was so worthwhile to see the amazing crowds of approaching 200 people stepping forwards to raise awareness of the impact of climate change and extreme weather on our local coastline.

Campaigners marched along Hurst Spit to the castle
Campaigners marched along Hurst Spit to the castle

“There was such a lovely sense of community and a joint commitment to tackling this desperately serious issue.”

Keyhaven scientist Ben Collins added: “Coastal communities are becoming especially sensitive to extreme weather and sea level rise. Britain’s Environment Agency is predicting a one-metre sea level rise in the lifetime of children born today.

Hurst Castle has been badly damaged by storms
Hurst Castle has been badly damaged by storms

"Milford, Keyhaven and Lymington’s beaches and marshes will be submerged, our cliffs will need yet more costly sea defences and our sea walls built ever higher. Who will pay the cost?

“Hurst Castle’s wall collapse is our ‘wake-up’ call and a sign of things to come unless the world takes action very soon.

There were speeches and songs on the village green
There were speeches and songs on the village green

“By standing up to show politicians in Glasgow we care, we are sending a message across the north winds that coastal villages and towns all over the world are on the front line that our leaders need to listen to their people and move from warm words to action.

"The situation is urgent. They need to act now!”

On Saturday a group of six delegates from New Forest Friends of the Earth also travelled to take part in the city’s Global Day of Action protest with other campaigners.



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