HAD anyone found themselves in the vicinity of Powys County Council (PCC) headquarters on Thursday (May 26) you would have been forgiven for thinking several employees had woken up on the wrong side of bed – or literally just got out of bed.

However, a group of people still dressed in their pyjamas was not an indication that local authority employees had slept through their alarms, it was just around a dozen environmental activists making a point – they claim the council is ‘Sleepwalking into Extinction’.

That was the slogan adorning banners brandished by Powys members of Extinction Rebellion (XR), as individuals from groups county-wide gathered at the entrance to County Hall in Llandrindod.

The activists displayed banners for the freshly elected councillors as they entered the council chamber for their first meeting as a new body following elections earlier this month.

Some councillors stopped to talk with the protestors about their demonstration, which continued peacefully for more than an hour.

The National Wales:  Sleepy activists make their point at County Hall Sleepy activists make their point at County Hall

After the elections earlier this month, PCC is now under under new leadership, changing from an Independent-Conservative coalition to one made up of Liberal Democrat and Labour councillors.

XR spokesperson David France, 25, from Welshpool, said: “The science is clear that we’re Sleepwalking into Extinction.

“Decisions made over the next few years will make or break the habitability of life on Earth.

“In Powys, those decisions will be made by the new council. They have the opportunity to protect residents from the energy and food crises and to cut carbon emissions and restore nature.

“The previous council failed. That’s why we’re demanding that the new council: tell the truth and declare an ecological emergency; act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025 and begin protecting and repairing nature immediately; create public assemblies so that these big decisions are made by the people of Powys, not individual councillors.

“We’ll be turning up the pressure to make sure we get more than warm words and empty promises.”

The National Wales:  People (and dogs) are dreaming of a greener Powys People (and dogs) are dreaming of a greener Powys

In 2020, the previous council passed a motion from Lib Dem members Jake Berriman and Jackie Charlton to declare a climate emergency.

However, late last year, the council refused to declare an ecological emergency, or to support the UK Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill, voting down a motion to do so which had been tabled by the same Lib Dem councillors.

Then council leader Rosemarie Harris had said she was concerned that the CEE bill was being promoted by groups like Extinction Rebellion “who’ve been involved in criminal activity, blocking roads and have even wanted to rewild land in Powys”.

Ms Harris lost her seat in the May elections to Cllr Charlton. XR activists are hoping the change of party control will bring about a change of direction.