County Hall’s plan to cut its carbon emission by 90pc by 2030 has been criticised for not going far enough if controversial road-building projects go ahead. 

Norfolk County Council has launched the strategy – which includes a series of measures, including swapping all street lighting bulbs to LED ones, switching its car fleet to electric vehicles and creating new green spaces - as part of its pledge to reach net zero carbon emissions.

Eastern Daily Press:

But critics argue the authority is “in denial” if it is going to continue pursuing the Western Link Road – a £251m plan to build 3.9 miles of road linking the A47 with the Norwich Northern Distributor Road. 

It comes as the fate of three other A47 revamp schemes now rests in the hands of a High Court judge. 

Alongside cutting its own emissions, the council wants to support businesses and schools to cut their own, while promoting low-carbon transport options and encouraging sustainable tourism. 

Bill Borrett told his cabinet colleagues that it was an “important piece of work” that would underpin all other council decision-making. 

Eastern Daily Press: Bill BorrettBill Borrett (Image: Norfolk County Council)

While Green group councillor Jamie Osborn welcomed it as a “first step”, he argued it does not go far enough. 

He said: "There is a huge opportunity now to invest in insulating homes, establishing decent green jobs, and restoring our lost natural landscapes.  

"Yet the Conservatives are still in denial about the urgency of the climate crisis and are still actively pursuing destructive projects like the Western Link Road." 

Eastern Daily Press: Jamie OsbornJamie Osborn (Image: Jamie Osborn)

Graham Plant, cabinet member for transport, argued the Western Link is an important part of the document. 

He said the road would take traffic off other local roads, support public transport and reduce journey times to the west of the city. 

What does net zero mean? 

The term net zero means achieving a balance between the carbon which is emitted into the atmosphere, and the carbon which is removed from it. 

That means cutting emissions as much as possible - by moving away from use of fossil fuels. 

And it also means removing an equivalent amount for those which are created, such as by planting trees. 

In 2019, the UK government set a target that will require the UK to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. 

Norfolk County Council has a target to make its estate, including its buildings, net zero by 2030.