The long-awaited start of commercial flights from Carlisle has been welcomed by all city councillors – except one.

Carlisle Lake District Airport this month became the first commercial airport in the UK to launch in more than 14 years.

But the decision to reopen the airport also comes four months after the district council declared a climate emergency and pledged to slash its carbon emissions.

Green councillor Dr Helen Davison, Green told the chamber at Carlisle City Council that the launch of commercial flights was incompatible with tackling a climate emergency, and that the timing could not be worse.

Coun Davison was responding to a motion by Coun James Bainbridge welcoming the re-establishment passenger flights after a generation, a move which he said make it easier for people to travel and boost the economy.

He asked that the chief executive write to flight operators and those who have provided grant funding to express the council’s appreciation and goodwill.

But Coun Davison said: “We have already faced two devastating floods in Carlisle in recent history.

“Our residents have some are still suffering the impacts of these. People have died here and across the world many poor people are dying as a result of human-caused climate change.

“And this is going to get much worse if we don’t dramatically change how we live.

“Increasing flights as a mode of transport is not compatible with action tackling the climate crisis.

“We owe it to our children and future generations to act on the climate emergency decisively. If we don’t change the way we live our children and grandchildren will not have any sort of life at all.”

Labour leader Colin Glover, who brought the original climate change motion to the council, acknowledged that Coun Davison’s points were important and that there were significant things the council needed to do to address climate change.

But he also stressed the airport’s importance in boosting the economy, creating well-paid jobs as well as opening up the city, Cumbria and the Borderlands region to visitors.

The meeting also heard that people driving to airports outside Cumbria such as Newcastle, Glasgow and Manchester to take flights left a larger carbon footprint than those flying from Carlisle.

And councillors were also told that the two biggest contributors to climate change were fossil fuels and road transport rather than aviation.

Coun Glover said: “The climate emergency doesn’t mean we stop doing everything. It means that we have to make sure we know the impact of everything we do.”

He suggested that the council could take steps to counter the impact of much-needed projects such as the airport by taking action in other areas.