16 December 2019
Norfolk County Council is to look at the work of Norfolk and Suffolk's Local Enterprise Partnership, or LEP, at its scrutiny meeting on Tuesday.
The LEP is an organisation set up to lead job creation and economic growth in the local area.
Despite spending £39m per annum of public money, the LEP is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Although councils have some representatives on its board, meetings are held behind closed doors unless there is a special dispensation. The Government has asked LEPs to either offer to attend councils' scrutiny meetings or hold consultations with councils or with business to improve transparency.
However, Norwich Green Party campaigners say this is not enough.
Councillor Lesley Grahame said:
"We have long argued for LEP meetings to be held in public, and to allow the public a say in the future direction of the regional economy. We welcome the small steps taken towards accountability, and the LEP's support for some renewable energy projects, but believe both should go further. The science demands that our dependency on oil simply has to stop. I will be asking the county council to hold the LEP to account for the impact of its decisions on the climate crisis we are now facing.
Councillor Grahame continued:
"The county council has recognised that we are in a climate emergency, and must now act accordingly. Working with the LEP, they are well-placed to drive the transition away from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy, creating sustainable jobs and diversifying away from those that further damage our climate."
The question submitted by Councillor Grahame to Norfolk County Council's scrutiny committee:
What enquiries has scrutiny made, if any, and if none what will it make, into what thinking and progress the LEP and Norfolk County Council have made towards nurturing zero-carbon industries and skills (such as in energy, public transport, sustainable agriculture) and diversifying away from those that add to our greenhouse gas emissions? Will Scrutiny Committee also make enquiries into when reducing emissions and climate impact will be added to the criteria for funding applications to the LEP, and to the headline goals of both the LEP and each council?