Government criticised over funding for Norwich's climate crisis

Green Party councillor Jamie Osborn. Photo: Jamie Osborn

Green Party councillor Jamie Osborn. - Credit: Jamie Osborn

Government funding to make Norwich's buildings more energy efficient “will not go anywhere near far enough”, a city councillor has claimed.

Green Party councillor Jamie Osborn’s comments came after Norwich City Council approved a £1.5m funding boost from the government to reduce its carbon emissions.

Some of the cash from the Green Homes Grant scheme will be spent on reducing the carbon footprint from council buildings and 80 homes.

Mr Osborn, who represents Mancroft ward, said: “This money for improving energy efficiency and access to renewable energy across a range of buildings is very welcome.

“However, the money provided by the Government will not go anywhere near far enough.

“It will enable insulating only a few dozen homes and installing a handful of new domestic solar panels, but we need to be retrofitting thousands of homes each year, not dozens.”

Almost £750,000 will be spent on renewable heating at the grade II-listed City Hall and a solar system at the council’s service depot on Hurricane Way.

Norwich City Hall, on St. Peter's Street, covered in snow

Norwich City Hall will be getting a renewable heating upgrade, costing £750,000. - Credit: Abigail Nicholson

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The council will also pay for new insulation in 50 homes, with solar panels installed on a further 30, at a cost of around £700,000.

Work will also be done to install LED lighting at St Giles car park and Blackfriars Hall.

But the Green Party said the city council’s emissions make up just 2pc of the wider city’s total.

Kevin Maguire, cabinet member for safe and sustainable city environment at Norwich City Council, said: “I am pleased that the city council has successfully bid for this significant additional funding as we continue to deliver against our ambitious, award-winning plans to reduce our carbon emissions to zero and lead a green recovery from Covid.

Norwich city councillor Kevin Maguire.

Norwich city councillor Kevin Maguire. - Credit: Nick Butcher

“Keeping Norwich a liveable city for future generations is a key theme of our Norwich 2040 City Vision, and this funding will allow us to progress ambitious projects to make that expectation a reality.”

The council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and aims to carbon neutral by 2030, with the city to follow by 2050.

It has seen its emissions drop by more than 60pc since 2007, with the changes made possible by the funding expected to save over 30,000 tonnes of carbon.

The work is expected to be completed by September 2021.