'Real work starts now', activists warn as West Norfolk Council climate declaration plan welcomed
Environmental campaigners have welcomed the prospect of West Norfolk Council formally declaring a climate emergency when it meets next week.
But Extinction Rebellion members say the move also needs to signal a major shift of approach to the problem, describing the authority's current proposals as "woefully inadequate".
Council leaders announced they had tabled a motion proposing the declaration of an emergency earlier this week.
The issue is due to be debated at a meeting next Thursday, September 9.
In a statement released yesterday evening, XR's West Norfolk branch urged all councillors to back it and welcomed the authority's plan to cut its own carbon emissions to net zero by 2035.
But they added: "Now the emergency has been unequivocally acknowledged, the hard work must really begin.
"The council’s recent draft climate action plan is woefully inadequate for the whole borough and needs to be drastically revisited in line with the council’s declaration.
"A climate emergency cannot mean distant target dates and vague gestures at actions. There needs to be deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions now."
The council says it plans to have a dedicated budget for climate change initiatives and wants to work with both the public and other bodies to cut emissions.
It also argues that it is already showing leadership through schemes like the installation of greener heating systems in council-owned buildings and investment in less polluting vehicles.
But XR campaigner Robert Shippey said the declaration needs to herald a "significant step change" in the authority's approach even beyond that.
He said: " climate has had dangerous levels of greenhouse gasses my entire life, every year we delay just makes the problem increasingly worse. We need action now.”
The group, many of whose members have been taking part in recent protests in London, is calling for the establishment of a citizens' jury to hear evidence and consider points of action.