West Norfolk Council plans new 2035 net zero carbon target - and could bring it forward to 2030
Council chiefs in West Norfolk have published plans which they say could see them achieve net zero carbon emissions up to 20 years earlier than previously thought.
The authority is planning to bring forward its target date from 2050 to 2035, under proposals to be considered at a panel meeting on Tuesday.
And it suggests an annual review process could eventually see the target moved to as early as 2030.
But critics say the authority’s primary focus on its own activities demonstrates a lack of urgency in tackling the issue.
Extinction Rebellion activists, who have been taking part in demonstrations in London this week, say the authority’s own emissions amount to less than one per cent of the borough’s total and net zero is needed by 2025.
In a recent response to the authority’s draft proposals, they said: “This is an emergency, act like it.”
But the council argues that many of the measures needed to reduce emissions across the borough are beyond their remit.
Work to meet the 2035 target is likely to include a review of work to install cleaner heating systems, which is already underway.
The report says the authority will also review its transport fleet, as well as considering options for the borough’s next waste contract, due in around 2027.
It also acknowledges the need for greater public engagement to reduce emissions.
“Some residents and local businesses have already started to consider how they can reduce their impact on climate change.
“We need to engage further with the residents of West Norfolk to explain why we are taking this action and what measures they can take to help minimise their environmental impact.
“We will also want to encourage local businesses in West Norfolk to start to reduce their carbon footprints going forward.”
The move comes amid renewed attention on green issues as the UK prepares to host the UN Climate Change Conference, which is known as COP26, in Glasgow in November.
Extinction Rebellion activists from West Norfolk have been taking part in a new round of protests in London this week.
And members of Lynn’s Klimate Concern organisation are planning to head into schools this autumn to develop a collection of work from children to deliver to the conference.
A nine-day cross-county relay promoting the need for action on climate change, which is part of a national pilgrimage from Cornwall to Glasgow, is due to finish in Lynn this Sunday.