HUNDREDS of people across the North-East took to the streets to be part of a global climate change protest– in what could turn out to be the biggest environmental protest in history.

Climate strikes were held in towns and cities including Darlington, Durham, Bishop Auckland and Newcastle which saw campaigners call on the Government to take urgent action against the climate emergency.

In Bishop Auckland Market Place, the town's MP Helen Goodman told campaigners: "This is the most dangerous moment. We have to stop making excuses and start taking action. We need a national program and a government committed to change."

Durham County Councillor Joy Allan, who is the town’s mayor, took inspiration from young environmentalist Greta Thunberg.

She said: “As Greta Thunberg would say 'no one is too small to make a difference' and in Bishop Auckland we are demonstrating that no town is too small to make that very important difference. I hope everyone here today becomes part of our movement to make Bishop Auckland a carbon neutral town.”

Dyane Turner, a textile artist who worked with children to create banners addressing climate issues for the demonstration, said: "What future have we created for our children?"

Students and members of Durham Greenpeace Group led more than 300 people from all over County Durham who demonstrated in Durham city centre. Passers-by were encouraged to join the recently set up Durham Climate Choir in singing protest songs and chants.

Earlier this year, a climate emergency was declared by Durham County Council which set a target of reducing its carbon emissions by 60 per cent by 2030 and for the county as a whole to be 100 per cent carbon neutral by 2050.

Councillor John Clare, the authority’s climate change champion, said: “Since declaring a climate emergency earlier this year, we have been working hard with partner agencies to identify opportunities to reduce the council’s and the county’s CO2 emissions.”

He called on everyone who lives, works, shops or visits the county to take part in the council's online public consultation on topics including heating, transport and electricity which runs until Thursday, October 31.

Regional field organiser Jonathan Elmer, of The Green Party, said: "I was very impressed with the turn out, the strike was really well supported with over 300 people attending. It is critical that people take note of the current crisis, I can’t think of anything more important. The council actually need to do the right thing rather than saying the right thing."

Jane Parker, a volunteer with Greenpeace Durham, said: “The Government has been saying the right things about climate change, but talk is cheap. They should put their money where their mouth is and do what’s needed. If the kids who’ve been out protesting for a year now are going to have decent lives, we need to see big changes."

Darlington MP Jenny Chapman spoke to more than 60 people gathered in Darlington's Stanhope Park.

She said: "It is important that we gather here today because this is part of a global day of protest. It crosses party political divides and across generations. We have a moment now where we have the opportunity to act and we have to take it..it is a message of hope."

Addressing the youth in the crowd, she added: "We are going to look back on today and say we were there, we were part of it. Keep going, keep speaking out, you have the power."

Similar protests will be held around the world in a week of action up until next Friday– with an estimated 200 events already staged in the UK.