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County climate action demanded on eve of COP26 summit

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As world leaders gather in Glasgow for the start of the COP26 climate summit this weekend, campaigners in West Norfolk are demanding action closer to home.

Members of the Fenland and West Norfolk Friends of the Earth group are highlighting research suggesting thousands of homes in the borough could be left uninhabitable within the next 20 years.

And they will be on the streets of Lynn next weekend as part of calls for Norfolk County Council to declare a climate emergency.

COP26 low-carbon gardens (50582385)
COP26 low-carbon gardens (50582385)

An online petition calling for the action has already been signed by more than 1,700 people and organisers are aiming to reach 4,500, which would trigger a debate at County Hall.

The authority has stated its aim of becoming a carbon neutral organisation by 2030 and says it is making progress towards that goal.

It has also argued that setting the 2030 target proved it is serious about tackling the problem.

The warning outside Lynn's Town Hall from the Fenland and West Norfolk Friends of the Earth group (52725665)
The warning outside Lynn's Town Hall from the Fenland and West Norfolk Friends of the Earth group (52725665)

But calls for the council to formally declare a climate emergency, put forward by opposition members, were rejected at a meeting in May.

Friends of the Earth group members will be out in Lynn next Saturday, November 6, to gather support for their petition urging the leadership at County Hall to think again.

They said: “If not now, then when? The evidence of the threat we are facing is undeniable yet NCC seems to be burying its head in the sand and hoping the crisis will pass if it does nothing.”

The group has also highlighted research by the Climate Central group of scientists which warns that large areas of West Norfolk, including Lynn, could be below the annual flood level as early as 2030.

“The risk of flooding is going up rapidly, threatening the survival of some of our much loved King’s Lynn landmarks such as the Corn Exchange, the Guildhall and St Margaret’s Church.

“If these go, so will thousands of houses and businesses in West Norfolk as repeated flooding makes them uninhabitable.

“This is not inevitable. If we all act now we can help reduce the risk and protect the places we love and keep our homes and jobs secure.”

West Norfolk Council voted to declare a climate emergency last month.

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