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West Norfolk Council outlines new climate change policy as protests resume




A new climate change policy is to be debated by West Norfolk councillors next week.

The discussion comes after Extinction Rebellion activists began a fresh round of protests , accusing the authority of “wilfully ignoring” solutions.

The draft document, which will be examined at an environment and community panel meeting on Tuesday, says the authority is “committed” to addressing the issue.

GV ofthe Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, King's Court Hq, Chapel Street King's Lynn. (2744084)
GV ofthe Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, King's Court Hq, Chapel Street King's Lynn. (2744084)

It says the council’s policy is to “proactively identify, understand, manage and review its level of greenhouse gas emissions to play its part” in accordance with domestic legislation and international agreements.

And it says the council wants to work with other bodies, at local and national level, to tackle climate change and further understand its causes.

The document follows the passing of a motion in July in which the council “fully recognise{s} the evolving climate crisis”, but stopped short of formally declaring a climate emergency as many other councils have done.

Extinction Rebellion activists hope this banner in the heart of Lynn will inspire others to protest about climate change (41851297)
Extinction Rebellion activists hope this banner in the heart of Lynn will inspire others to protest about climate change (41851297)

A detailed strategy and action plan is set to follow over the coming months.

A separate document, published in the same agenda, says West Norfolk has the third highest carbon footprint of any district authority area in England, while the council itself was responsible for more than 4,600 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions during the 2018-19 financial year.

But officials said a recorded 36 per cent drop in emissions during the lockdown showed that change was possible.

They said: “Lessons can be learnt from this pandemic and they will influence our future climate change strategy with action plan.”

But the message appears to have come too late for the borough’s Extinction Rebellion group, who began a new round of direct action last Friday.

A campaign banner was hung in the centre of Lynn, in what activists claimed was meant as an “incitement to rebel”, while stickers were daubed at petrol stations to highlight the impact of fossil fuels.

A group statement said: “While the council tells the public that it is taking action on the climate crisis, it has implemented decades of policies and strategies that wilfully ignore cleaner, more sustainable, active and public modes of transport.

“Any meaningful progress is stymied by the council’s own interests, which lie with parking charges.”

Further action is expected in the borough to take place over the coming weeks.



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