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More transport air pollution in West Norfolk

Efforts to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in West Norfolk have been hampered by increased transport emissions over five years, according to government figures.

The latest data from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has revealed that CO2 emissions from freight and passenger transport rose by 4.5 per cent between 2011 and 2016.

Traffic on London Road King's Lynn
Traffic on London Road King's Lynn

That means traffic was responsible for a third of the total amount of carbon dioxide released in the borough in 2016.

But overall CO2 emissions in the borough fell by 30 per cent over the same period.

The area was responsible for releasing 1.21 million tonnes of CO2 in 2016 – down from 1.73 million tonnes five years earlier.

Industrial and commercial activities accounted for 39.9 per cent of the borough’s total CO2 emissions, while households produced 21.9 in 2016, lower than five years earlier.

The department also takes into account the amount of CO2 produced by farms and through other rural activities and the carbon dioxide removed from the air by trees.

According to its estimates, agricultural activities produced more greenhouse gases than forests remove, and were therefore responsible for 4.9 per cent of the carbon emissions in West Norfolk during 2016.

The recent heatwave has raised awareness about the growing risks of climate change. Scientists believe that future heatwaves will be more frequent and hotter due to carbon dioxide emissions.

Environmental campaigners have blamed the increase in emissions from transport on the higher number of larger vehicles on the roads and say more needs to be done by the government on the issue.

Jason Torrance, a transport expert at UK100, a network of local governments committed to promoting clean energy, said: “It is expected that the Government will want to give local authorities more powers to tackle air pollution in the environment legislation next year.

“But without significant shifts on things like cleaner buses and taxis, plus a shift away from car dependency, this trend will only get worse."

Locally, work is continuing on a study of transport issues in Lynn, which has already seen a trial road layout introduced to London Road in a bid to keep traffic flowing better.

The final report is expected to be completed early next year.

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