West Norfolk Council's cabinet turns down call to declare a climate emergency
Councillors have rejected a call for a climate emergency to be declared in West Norfolk.
At the meeting of West Norfolk Council's cabinet on Tuesday, members discussed Green councillor Michael de Whalley's motion to declare a climate emergency and commit to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.
The motion also called for additional work to be completed and to set up various panels and groups.
The call for West Norfolk Council to declare a climate emergency has previously been delayed on more than one occasion, prior to reaching the cabinet meeting this week.
Ian Devereux, cabinet member for environment, said: "We recognise that there is a crisis, as has been said on a number of occasions."
Mr Devereux said he had discussed the ongoing environmental work the council is currently doing with officers.
He said there was "quite a lot in alignment" with the motion but there were also "significant differences".
"We are working towards a long-term climate change strategy," he added.
Meanwhile a report to councillors set out the work the authority is currently doing in terms of climate change, and explained that it expects to adopt a climate change policy from late April or early May.
The climate change strategy and action plan will be developed later in 2020/21.
The report adds that West Norfolk Council is also now a part of the Norfolk District's Climate Change Group, which "will allow collaborative working on environmental and green issues".
Mr Devereux added that working on green issues "is not something new for the council that we have just started since April last year", and he said the authority has made "significant progress" this year.
Prior to the cabinet's vote, Mr de Whalley said: "Let us have the 2020 vision to declare a climate emergency and try for carbon neutrality."
"The decisions are on your heads," he added.
Council leader Brian Long said West Norfolk was an area with "very high CO2 emissions", where businesses such as British Sugar and Palm Paper are "out there trying to do things to improve their emissions".
Mr Long added that "things were happening", including the climate change policy and the separate climate change strategy.
"Norfolk needs to do its bit to address those issues and in addition to that we do need to work with our partners to try and get them to take the right path, and starting to lead by example," he said.
The cabinet voted to recommend the rejection of the motion to full council.