More trees, warmer homes, fewer cars: what Greater Norwich needs to tackle climate emergency

8 October 2019

Friends of the Earth have today published assessments on the performance of every council in the country in tackling the climate emergency, and what local authorities need to do before 2030.

The assessments bring together over 20 national data sources covering insulation and energy in housing, transport, renewable energy, trees and nature, waste and divestment from fossil fuels. (1)  Councils are also compared with other similar councils. (2) 

Performance varies within the Greater Norwich area. Norwich is better than average, Broadland is average, and South Norfolk is worse than average. Yet the Friends of the Earth data shows that across all the councils huge and rapid changes are needed in how homes are insulated and heated, how people travel, and in creating woodlands and more tree cover.

Green Party Member of the European Parliament and MP candidate in 2015 and 2017 Catherine Rowett said, “This assessment from Friends of the Earth shows that authorities at all levels have seriously to step up their efforts if we are to stand the remotest chance of leaving a safe world for our children. We have very little time left to prevent catastrophic climate breakdown. Many of the solutions are readily available with little effort, and we need to embark on implementing those changes without delay.

Former Green Party county and city councillor Dr Andrew Boswell said: “The levels of fuel poverty around Norwich highlighted by Friends of the Earth are a blight on peoples’ lives and also an indicator of how far we have to go to improve energy efficiency. We could stop homes leaking energy and eliminate fuel poverty by 2030 by insulating 3300 homes a year across the City.

Dr Boswell added, “Greater Norwich transport planning is a failure: transport emissions are still rising just when we need to cut them.  Hundreds of millions of pounds have been thrown at road building, when people need cheap and easy to use public transport.  Friends of the Earth say that 40%-70% walking, cycling and public transport is essential by 2030. A change of policy and much more investment in public transport is the only way to make this happen.

Green Party councillor Ben Price said: “South Norfolk Council are letting everybody down. They seem unable to act responsibly. We are in a Climate Emergency but carbon emissions are out of control on their watch.  The council could make an immediate positive contribution through a big tree planting campaign to raise tree cover from the current 6% to the 20% that is the minimum recommended by Friends of the Earth."



1. Data compiled by Chris Gordon-Smith and Mike Childs, Friends of the Earth Policy & Insight Unit. September 2019.

2. To ensure these comparisons are fair, they’re based on the Office of National Statistics’ grouping of similar local authorities.

3. 2017 levels Transport carbon emissions v 2005 levels are Broadland 100%, Norwich 91%. South Norfolk 104%, GNDP 101% as calculated from Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, 27 June 2019, Emissions of carbon dioxide for Local Authority areas

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