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‘History’ made as Norfolk County Council adopts new environmental policy

County councillors have voted to adopt a “groundbreaking” new environmental policy, which will see the authority aim to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

Members of Norfolk County Council debated the policy, which also set out the authority’s intention to allocate revenue and capital funding, at the full council meeting on Monday.

Andy Grant, cabinet member for environment and waste, said: “It’s not often that we make history in this chamber, but I’m hopeful today that we can for the right reasons.”

Norfolk County Council's headquarters
Norfolk County Council's headquarters

Mr Grant said it was a “very ambitious step” to aim to achieve net zero carbon emissions 20 years earlier than the current national government target of 2050.

“Creating this environmental policy was the first step of a long journey, the next part of which will be to fully assess our current carbon footprint, followed by actions in order for us to reach our goals,” he added.

Sandra Squire, who represents Marshland North, said the policy was “ground-setting and groundbreaking”.

“I think it’s a good day for Norfolk, a good day for the world, and a good day for the planet,” Joe Mooney said.

Meanwhile, Jess Barnard said the new approach would not mean the council could now “pat ourselves on the backs and sit back and relax”.

“Don’t pay the people of Norfolk lip service, but put this policy into practice with action from day one from every single representative in this chamber,” she added.

Alexandra Kemp, who represents Clenchwarton and King’s Lynn South, said she believed “special attention” needed to be focused on the west of the county, where carbon emissions are believed to be the highest in Norfolk, starting with the Lynn Transport Plan.

Mr Grant said the policy in its current state was a “founding document” but he added: “I agree, in the west, it does need attention, specifically around rural transport and public bus services.”

In the west, the council is also looking to plant “at least” 40,000 trees in the next 12 months on a 50-acre site, Greg Peck said.

Councillors voted unanimously to support the adoption of the new policy.

  • A motion is due to be heard at West Norfolk Council’s full council meeting tonight, submitted by Ms Squire, suggesting the council agree to plant the equivalent of one tree for every resident in the borough, over four years.

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