Council leader criticised over climate reshuffle goes ahead despite protests

A council leader who was blasted over plans to scrap a cabinet post responsible for climate change h

A council leader who was blasted over plans to scrap a cabinet post responsible for climate change has announced the authority will go ahead with the decision. Pictured, Brian Long. Photo: Matthew Usher - Credit: Matthew Usher

A council leader who was blasted over plans to scrap a cabinet post responsible for climate change has announced the authority will go ahead with the decision.

West Norfolk council leader Brian Long told a cabinet meeting last month he planned to add climate issues to the portfolio of another cabinet member, following the resignation of the former post holder Ian Devereux.

But the move sparked criticism with Mr Long described as having an “obvious lack of interest and concern” for the environment during the meeting.

It also prompted protests from environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion West Norfolk which defaced council buildings to protest what it branded the council’s inaction on the issue.

READ MORE: ‘Disappointing’ - council leader planning to scrap climate role criticised

Now the council leader has announced a shake-up of cabinet roles, which will see commercial services cabinet member Paul Kunes take on climate change in addition to his existing duties.

The reshuffle will also see Stuart Dark rejoin the cabinet as the member for environmental services, including waste disposal.

Mr Long said: “When Mr Devereux stood down as member for the environment, I took on the environmental portfolio myself to ensure it had the appropriate gravitas as well as the benefit of my years of experience in the role previously.

READ MORE: Councillor steps down from senior role saying: ‘I’m feeling my age’


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“I knew this could only be a temporary thing as it is a large portfolio with lots of diverse issues that are all of great importance.”

He added: “By rearranging portfolios I am confident that we have the right people in the right place to take us through the next few years tacking the climate and environmental challenges we face.”

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Mr Kunes will now be the member for climate change and commercial services, with a remit including climate change, air quality, carbon reduction, biodiversity and energy strategy, as well as car parking, CCTV, ICT, cemeteries and crematorium, and shared services.

READ MORE: Environment protestors who defaced council sites to face police probe

Mr Dark, who took on the role of member for the emergency Covid-19 response earlier in the year, will now act as member for environmental services and public protection.

He will be responsible for waste collection, refuse, recycling, street cleaning, licensing, infectious diseases, food safety and waste reduction.

The new cabinet roles begin with immediate effect.

READ MORE: Council leader told to apologise to residents for ‘inflammatory schadenfreude’

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