Green Party claims council’s Norwich river strategy focuses too much on tourism and not enough on environment
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016
Green Party councillors claim plans to improve the River Wensum focus too much on tourism and not enough on environmental concerns.
Norwich City Council's Wensum Strategy aims to increase the public's usage of the river, as well as improve habitats for wildlife.
In a statement, the Green Party said it welcomed the council's commitment to complete various projects along the river, including the walk between Duke Street and St George's Street.
But it expressed 'disappointment' at what it claimed to be a lack of a full biodiversity strategy to accompany the plans.
Simeon Jackson, Mancroft Ward Green Party councillor, said: 'There are some very good proposals in there, but overall we feel the balance is too far in favour of tourism and business opportunities, with not enough weight given to environmental concerns and the needs of residents.
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'The environmental section of the strategy is lacklustre and vague, with few definite plans.'
The council's strategy dedicates 11 pages to improving habitats and water quality along the river.
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Its ideas include creating floating vegetation platforms, eel passes and a campaign to warn businesses about the impact fat and oil has on water quality.
Mr Jackson also claimed that while one of the strategy's objectives was to address inequality, it was not supported by any content.
Meanwhile, Denise Carlo, Green Party councillor for the Nelson Ward, said: 'One specific proposal we have suggested is the replacement of the harsh metal sheeting by softer infrastructure along the banks of the river through the historic city centre.
'At present, the Wensum as it flows through the city looks more like a canal than a river.
'A range of tried and tested soft engineering techniques for riverbanks is available could create a more attractive appearance and improve biodiversity whilst continuing to protect the banks from boat erosion.'
The party has suggested the strategy should include:
• A full biodiversity strategy that recognises the ecological importance of the river.
• A tree-planting programme to encourage wildlife and reduce flood risk.
To view the entire strategy, visit www.norwich.gov.uk/draftriverwensumstrategy