18 December 2019
This morning activists from environmental campaign groups Extinction Rebellion and Friends of the Earth packed a meeting at City Hall to demand greater ambition from the council on reducing carbon emissions, as politicians discussed Norwich’s draft Carbon Management Plan.
At the meeting, Norwich City Council said it had achieved a near 60% reduction in its own carbon emissions since 2007, primarily through switching to a green electricity supplier. This is far above the target the council had set for itself of achieving 40% emissions reductions by 2019.
However, Green Party councillors pointed out that the council’s emissions only accounted for approximately 2% of the whole of the Norwich area’s carbon footprint, so the reductions outlined were not enough on their own. Furthermore, Greens believe the decisions the council is taking exacerbate the problem, for example the Norwich Western Link road, the expansion of Norwich airport, and the carbon-intensive redevelopment of Anglia Square.
Cllr Kevin Maguire from the Labour Cabinet accused the Greens of “waving their arms around” in panic over climate change.
Norwich Green Party councillor Jamie Osborn said, “The level of complacency shown by this council is very disappointing. Aiming to have net zero carbon emissions by 2050 – the council’s current target – is twenty years too late and poses serious risks to the stability of our planet. Yet the council has apparently refused to listen to that warning.
Cllr Osborn continued, “Norwich has made good progress but is at risk of losing momentum. While other councils are changing their whole approach to development in light of the climate emergency, Norwich seems wedded to a business as usual approach. We have to start taking carbon reduction seriously in any and all council decisions, not dismissing it as something superfluous.”