Lawyers Put Council ‘On Notice’

2 September 2019

Norwich is among 100 councils, also including Broadland and North Norfolk District Councils, that will receive a letter from ClientEarth’s lawyers, demanding an explanation of how they will set evidence-based carbon reduction targets and ensure those targets are central to the councils’ new planning policy. The council will have eight weeks to produce this explanation.

ClientEarth has launched the letter amid what it calls “the massive shortfall in compliant local planning policy”. Planning is a key function of Norwich City Council that could have a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions, and Norwich Green Party has consistently called on the city council to ensure that all new developments are compliant with the need to drastically reduce carbon emissions. Green councillors have called for this to be enshrined in the new local plan, which lays out criteria for planning in the city.

Leader of the Green group on the city council, Martin Schmierer, said:

“It is very worrying that the council does not yet have adequate plans for the most serious and urgent crisis of our generation. This action by ClientEarth shows that unless the council enshrines meaningful targets and policies in its approach to planning, it could be breaking the law, as well as putting lives at risk. That must apply to new developments such as Anglia Square, too, where the current proposals are simply not fit for the future.”

ClientEarth’s letter comes more than seven months after the council acknowledged a climate emergency and committed to reporting, within six months, on the actions the council would take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible. The council has not yet reported on those actions. 

Green Party councillor and climate activist, Jamie Osborn, said:

“Climate change is going to seriously hit people’s livelihoods at best and kill at worst. We have to ensure we have serious and incredibly ambitious plans to reduce carbon emissions and our impact on the natural world if people are to continue to live peacefully in Norfolk and the wider world, and we have to start implementing those plans now.”






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