HAWAIIAN shirts and sunglasses were worn by six members of staff from the environmental health service at Middlesbrough Council to emphasise the problem of global warming when they joined mayor Ray Mallon to sign the local government Declaration on Climate Change.

The Government is urging all councils to sign the declaration in a bid to cut the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, by 20 per cent by 2010.

Middlesbrough has appointed a climate change officer with specific responsibility for co-ordinating local action within the community.

Mr Mallon said: "Climate change is happening and governments globally and councils locally have to plan for it and do what they can to reduce the greenhouse gases.

"We may never have a situation where sunglasses and short-sleeved shirts are standard winter wear in Middlesbrough, but global warming is a serious issue and we have to plan, prepare and act now to protect our environment.

"Middlesbrough's climate change plan will provide the blueprint to ensure that what we are achieving now can be handed on to our children."