MORE than 100 protesters including young schoolchildren flocked to Dorchester town centre to ‘fight for the planet’ yesterday.

A protest was held as part of the Global Climate Strike organised by the movement Fridays For Future – with similar protests happening across the country.

The event took place next to the Town Pump in South Street and was supported by members of the group Extinction Rebellion and schoolchildren from the area.

Campaigners want to see authorities – including Dorset Council – do more to tackle the threats posed by climate change

Kerry Mellor, 45 from Charminster, allowed her 11-year-old daughter to take part.

She said: “She’s very concerned about the climate; she wanted to come and express her feelings about it and I fully support her to do that. It’s the major issue we face above anything else.”

Schoolchildren were also invited to talk to the crowds.

One student said: “I think it’s great there’s lots of young children here, it’s our generation who should be doing something to help.”

Philip Marfleet of Extinction Rebellion, Weymouth and Dorchester, said: “I would like to give a special welcome to the schoolchildren who are here today because young people all over the world have shown us oldies what to do and we are doing out best to catch up with the fantastic initiative they have taken.”

Mr Marfleet encouraged schoolchildren to hold assemblies and discussions to highlight the climate emergency within their schools.

He also warned how parts of Weymouth and Portland could be underwater by 2050 – if projections by climate campaigners are true.

He added: “I don’t want people leaving here today feeling over-anxious because there are things we can still do.”

Lynne Hubbard, a climate activist, said: “The last climate strike in Dorchester had around 100 people and about 10 children which was brilliant, but this time it’s much better.

“we are going to fight for the future of our planet. We want change now.”

'We want better public transport'

CAMPAIGNER Lynn Hubbard said: “We want to hold Dorset Council to account. In May, the council declared a climate emergency. One of the things, obvious to us, is to invest in public transport, it’s really simple. But what the council has actually done since 2010 is cut its budget from £5.8m to £1.2m.

“That’s an 80 per cent cut in public transport spending and shows a lack of commitment to public transport.

“It’s no good moaning at us about using cars, we need a public transport system that works.

“We pay one of the highest council taxes in the country, we should have a right to tell Dorset Council how we want them to spend that money.

“That should include a public transport system that links villages, stops social isolation and allows people to get to school and is affordable.”

John Sellgren, Executive Director for Place at Dorset Council, said: “Reductions in public transport funding were absolutely necessary at the time in order to protect our core network, which accounted for 80% of the passenger journeys taken. But it’s also important to note that we haven’t reduced public transport funding since 2017 and certainly not since we made our Climate Emergency declaration earlier this year.

“Transport is one of the five key areas our Task and Finish groups are looking at in our climate change mitigation work and we recognise its importance in helping cut carbon emissions. We are looking at ways we can lobby central government for a national plan on transport, as well as how we can embed greener travel policies in our Local Transport Plan and Local Plan.”