Young people pitched their tough climate questions to a panel of politicians and environmentalists.

School children from across the county descended upon Penrith Leisure Centre on Friday to question a cross-party panel on what they are doing to protect the environment.

Their questions, which were voiced by a panel of five influential young people, covered everything from Brexit and the Whitehaven coal mine, to flood prevention and public transport.

Facing their questions was: Sue Hayman MP for Workington, Tim Farron MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, Mike Berners-Lee, Councillor Helen Davison, Councillor Val Tarbitt, and Henry Goodwin.

Clare Rodger, 14 , founder of the Cumbrian UK Student Climate Network, said: “I think most of the questions were answered well.

“I did feel as though a couple of them were dodged by some of the panellists.”

The panel was chosen to represent a broad range of voices and opinions - the big three political parties, the Green Party, Extinction Rebellion, and a climate expert were all given equal time to respond to the questions.

Tim Farron said: “My sense is that over the last six months or so, public opinion has changed largely because of the way young people have engaged.”

Many of the young people involved with the event were inspired by Greta Thunberg, the Swedish activist, who started the school strike movement.

Sue Hayman, Shadow Secretary for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, said: “It’s incredibly important to listen to young people because a lot of the action that has been taken in government both here and around the world, is because of the actions that young people have been taking.”

The underlying message of the event, despite the looming threat posed by climate change, was one of hope.

Hope in the idea that the effects can be reversed, and hope that the young people will be able to enact this positive change.

Those on the panel of young people have kickstarted change, both small and large, in their local areas.

Amy Bray, 16, founder of Another Way, said: “Each one of us is an individual who is an inhabitant of our world.

“We all have the power to do everything we can in our own lives to help fix our future.”

This message was also echoed by the opposite panel.

Helen Davison, councillor for Belah and Kingmoor, said: “There is hope in action, and even if we don’t reach our final vision by taking action towards it, it builds something very positive.

The question time event was organised by Cumbria Action For Sustainability (CAfS) following the Youth Climate Summit where young people made it clear they wished to have more opportunities to influence policymakers.

Hazel Graham, Chief Executive at CAfS, said: “I would hope that everybody in the audience is going to go away and make a change in their personal life.”