Activists stage City Hall demonstration over NDR western link - but city council continue support
PUBLISHED: 20:27 16 January 2019
Environmental activists have staged a demonstration within the walls of City Hall in Norwich for the second time.
More than 20 members of the group Extinction Rebellion filled the public gallery as Norwich City Council’s cabinet met on Wednesday - just a month after doing the same thing at a previous meeting.
Carrying placards and banners bearing slogans including “Protect the Wensum Valley”, the group attended to urge the cabinet to withdraw its support for a so-called western link connecting the Norwich Northern Distributor Road to the A47 to the west of the city - which members were due to discuss.
The group say that building the link would lead to higher levels of carbon emissions in the county and questioned the city council’s proposal to support the prospect.
However, Mike Stonard, cabinet member for sustainable growth argued that the western link would help reduce rat-running through villages, remove additional traffic from suburban streets and improve connectivity to the Midlands.
He said: “Last summer, the county council consulted on the principle of completing the NDR by providing a western link and at that time we fully supported the principle, subject to the delivery of a package of sustainable transport improvements and the mitigation of environmental impacts.
“These are very similar conditions to those which the city council attached to its support for the NDR, so in applying these conditions we are being entirely consistent.”
However, while cabinet members agreed to maintain its support for the link as a principle, it did not commit to a single preferred route - with the exception of not backing the option of single carriageway improvements to the A1067 and B1535.
While the cabinet did give its support to a western link, it was agreed that this would be withdrawn should final designs not include measures to promote walking, cycling and use of public transport, improve air quality and encourage growth.
After members agreed to offer their supports, Rupert Read, one of the activists, called for a two minute silence to be held “for all those that will be impacted by the decision”.