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Marshland St James residents attend West Norfolk Council event to kick-start net zero scheme





Residents in Marshland St James flocked to an event which kick-started a flagship net zero scheme in the village.

The outing aimed to help them manage energy and other bills as a starting point for that community journey, with more than 40 people attending the event.

It was organised by West Norfolk Council, its partners and Norfolk Climate Change Partnership’s Norfolk Net Zero Communities project. Together, they delivered a ‘Beat Your Bills’ roadshow for residents to find out more about fully-funded energy efficiency improvements, cost of living help and wellbeing support.

Cllrs Michael de Whalley (centre) and Jo Rust (second from right) attended the event in Marshland St James. Picture: West Norfolk Council
Cllrs Michael de Whalley (centre) and Jo Rust (second from right) attended the event in Marshland St James. Picture: West Norfolk Council

This put in place the support people might need if they want to move towards becoming a net zero community, and provided an opportunity to recognise what Marshland St James being a pilot place in the Norfolk Net Zero Communities project means for local residents.

The village is one of seven net zero communities in Norfolk to be part of the scheme.

Cllr Michael de Whalley, the borough coucncil’s cabinet member for climate change and biodiversity, said: “This event offered so much.

“The journey to net zero is an exciting opportunity for the people of Marshland St James but we also recognise the many and complex challenges facing rural communities so bringing our own staff and other organisations who can help with issues connected to the cost of living, health and wellbeing makes it a more realistic and achievable prospect.

“I’m delighted with how the event went and look forward to seeing the next steps Marshland St James takes on the road to net zero.”

Cllr Jo Rust, the council’s cabinet member for people and communities, added: “This event was a resounding success and a great example of how the council and its partners can help people.

“From helping people boost their income or reduce their outgoings to tackling loneliness we can help them get to grips with the very real issues affecting rural communities and that is what we have done here.

“When you consider the range of organisations we brought to help with health and wellbeing, local issues and environmental action alongside the number of people we saw, it feels like a double win: it’s a win for the community and a win for the environment.”

Norfolk Net Zero Communities is a Norfolk Climate Change Partnership (NCCP) project, using £300,000 of Government funding to support one community in each of the seven Norfolk districts.

This is being done by engaging with householders and local community organisations to explore ways to de-carbonise homes and travel to in a bid to tackle climate change in a two-year pilot project. Norfolk Net Zero Communities is one of only 21 successful locations across the UK.

At the event, community representatives received a Norfolk Net Zero Community certificate to mark the start of its project. They will be supported over the life of the project by the council’s senior climate change officer.

Beat Your Bills is a borough council initiative to help people with a range of issues connected to the cost of living.

Working with a range of partners, including parish councils, the police, health, the Department for Work and Pensions, and Community Action Norfolk, the council takes events to communities where it gives advice on a number of subjects.

These include tackling high energy bills, access to funded energy efficiency improvements and benefit entitlement.

It supports people to address loneliness, get health and crime prevention advice and experts can also signpost people to specialist support they may benefit from.



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