A controversial motion calling on Wiltshire Council to withdraw from an agreement pledging to tackle climate change sparked a demonstration outside County Hall on Tuesday.

About 20 members of climate friendly and eco groups, as well as concerned residents, from across Wiltshire protested on the steps of Wiltshire Council’s headquarters.

They handed over a 200-name petition before a full council meeting, during which the motion, signed by nine councillors, was discussed and subsequently thrown out by 84 votes to six, with two abstensions.

The motion called for the authority to withdraw from the Nottingham Declaration, a document signed by more than 300 councils pledging to reduce their carbon footprint, as there is no conclusive evidence that climate change is happening.

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust director Gary Mantle said during the debate that the declaration was widely supported in the county.

“The motion has caused widespread dismay from many groups and individuals,” he said.

“I urge members to object to this motion - it would be highly damaging.”

Among the councillors behind the motion was Tory Cllr Rod Eaton, who tried to convince fellow members that the effects of global warming were uncertain.

After the meeting, he said: “I think we managed to get our point across today and make fellow councillors realise that there is uncertainty towards climate change.

“I think the science is very uncertain as climate temperatures haven’t risen for 11 years and we are doing this without any evidence.”

Campaigners included members of Climate Friendly Bradford, Melksham Climate Group, Friends of the Earth and the Green Party.

Phil Chamberlain, Colerne parish councillor and founder of Ecolerne - an environmental group for the village - said: “I think we had a very good result from the meeting and the council took on board what we had to say and acted on it.

“I think if anything the motion backfired on the councillors because it gave us an opportunity to discuss the 10:10 campaign which the council has now agreed to sign up to.”

The 10:10 campaign is a pledge to reduce carbon emissions in Wiltshire by 10 per cent by 2010.

Group secretary of Climate Friendly Bradford, Rowena Quantrill, of Newtown, said: “We protested outside of County Hall because we were very upset that the motion to withdraw from the Nottingham Declaration had been forward after councillors had joined it.

“We have put in a bid for £200,000 funding for energy reduction measures in the town.

“This bid depends on showing community support, so the fact that a motion has been put forward sends out all the wrong messages.”

Juliet Davenport, chief executive officer of renewable electricity supplier Good Energy, in Chippenham, said: “I’m really glad that the council has seen sense.

“Wiltshire Council has a great opportunity to take the lead on this important issue, by winning the hearts and minds of the public and ensuring that the minority of individuals who have no vision of a future low-carbon world don’t stand in the way of the majority that do.”

Councillors who signed the motion and their vote for or against it: Peter Doyle, Wootton Bassett South (against), Rod Eaton, Melksham North (for), Mark Griffiths, Melksham Without North (not present), Russell Hawker, Westbury West (for), John Knight, Trowbridge Central (abstained), Christopher Newbury, Warminster Copheap and Wylye (for), Graham Payne, Trowbridge Drynham (for), Pip Ridout, Warminster West (abstained), Jonathon Seed, Summerham and Seend (for).