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West Norfolk warning that carbon probe is ‘not enough’

A West Norfolk councillor has said air quality problems have increased in the area over the years as a new inquiry is being launched to reduce carbon emissions by 2050.

Independent councillor Michael de Whalley said a new Transport East inquiry being launched needs to be “part of a wider strategy” and will not be enough on its own to tackle mounting problems in West Norfolk.

Mr de Whalley highlighted Gaywood and London Road as two serious air quality areas in the borough.

Morning rush hour traffic at Lynn's Southgates roundabout
Morning rush hour traffic at Lynn's Southgates roundabout

He also met with the chief executive of the borough council yesterday morning to discuss how to accelerate climate plans for the area.

Pallavi Devulapalli of campaign group Extinction Rebellion also raised concerns of increasing emissions and traffic congestion at a full borough council meeting last night.

She said: “This is an appalling state of affairs and it arises because residents in West Norfolk have no alternative to the road when it comes to travelling.

“This amount of road travel is taking its toll in citizen’s health, wellbeing and productivity.

“Lynn has so much congestion at teatime and on the A47 to Norwich. People are steadily buying more and more cars and nothing that the borough council has done so far has helped.

“We need to have better railway connections and infrastructure as well as more cycling.”

She also argues that reinstating the Hunstanton to Lynn railway line is imperative.

It comes as a new Transport East inquiry will colloborate with Norfolk County Council to reduce carbon emissions between now and 2050 by setting up a “strategic team” across the East of England.

The inquiry will engage with universities, businesses and other bodies to establish what emerging technologies can be utilised to help families and firms reduce carbon production.

Dr Devulapalli welcomed the new inquiry as a chance to express West Norfolk climate fears to a wider network.

“We absolutely need to improve within the East as a whole and get away from a driving culture,” she said.

An Extinction Rebellion demonstration outside King's Lynn Town Hall ahead of a mayor-making council meeting in May where demands for a 'Climate Emergency' were called for
An Extinction Rebellion demonstration outside King's Lynn Town Hall ahead of a mayor-making council meeting in May where demands for a 'Climate Emergency' were called for

Organiser Alastair Southgate, who is head of future transport strategy at Essex County Council, said Great Yarmouth has been chosen as a district to represent Norfolk for the inquiry.

He said: “I appreciate it is quite a distance but Lynn should still feed into the process through Norfolk County Council and workshops being planned.”

However, Mr de Whalley raised concerns at Great Yarmouth being selected as the representative of Norfolk for the inquiry.

He highlighted Great Yarmouth’s decision to approve the waste incinerator at Saddlebow as a concern.

Ian Devereux, cabinet member for environment at the borough council, said he intends to publish a King’s Lynn Transport Strategy report later this year.

Mr Devereux added: “The borough council is committed to a programme of work to re-establish the baseline of the borough’s carbon footprint.

“We will identify all the key ideas we will need to put in place as it will not be a short-term fix to compliment all the things that we are currently doing.

“We welcome this enquiry from Transport East and are already working to reduce carbon emissions across the borough.

“Working in partnership with Norfolk County Council we launched the King’s Lynn Transport Study, where the aims include bettering air quality and creating a sustainable environment.

“Additionally, two Air Quality Management Areas have been established in Lynn and the results published regularly on the Borough Council website.

"The 2018 report shows that NO2 levels at Gaywood Clock have reduced from over 45 micrograms per cubic meter in 2009, to 38 in 2018, and in the town centre from 55 micrograms per cubic meter in 2007 to 45.5 in 2018.

“The draft Air Quality report for 2019 shows further reductions at both sites, continuing the solid trend downwards.All of these results demonstrate that we have acted on the evidence before us to significantly reduce emissions and atmospheric pollution.

"Furthermore we have given a commitment that we will continue this vital work to inform Council decisions on further actions to reduce our emissions for the benefit of our communities.”

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