West Norfolk set to face new climate emergency call
Councillors in West Norfolk will take the biggest decision of their lives when they decide whether or not to declare a climate emergency next month.
A motion has been tabled ahead of the borough council’s next meeting on October 17, urging members to make the declaration and back a programme of action to reduce emissions.
And its proposer, Michael de Whalley, claims he is presenting a package of measures that will enable the borough to do what is fair for them to help tackle the issue.
He said: “This is without exception the most significant decision that the council will ever take.
“Much of our borough is at the highest risk to climate change and particularly sea-level rises. We must act urgently and decisively.”
Mr de Whalley’s intervention follows last Friday’s climate strike, during which dozens of campaigners protested in Lynn’s town centre to demand immediate action.
His motion calls for the borough to reach net zero carbon levels by 2030 at the latest, plus the compiling of a report within six months setting out how that will be achieved.
He also believes that a climate change partnership should be set up to lead the work and wants an extensive programme of community engagement.
Breckland and North Norfolk district councils, plus Hunstanton’s town council, have all declared a climate emergency in recent months, while Downham’s town council is also looking into the idea following a debate at its latest meeting two weeks ago.
Last month, borough council leaders said they were gathering data on the issue as they outlined plans to set up a working group to make recommendations for how the area could reduce its carbon footprint.
But they have also argued that declaring an emergency now would amount to a token gesture rather than a significant contribution to fighting the problem.
However, Mr de Whalley said: “Council action has been almost entirely driven as a response to community involvement and has proceeded at a glacial pace.
“The borough council has a both a local and global duty of care to act.”
Meanwhile, organisers of the Youth Strike for Climate, which saw dozens of supporters hold a demonstration in Lynn last Friday, have announced they will be protesting outside the town hall to coincide with the meeting.