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How the general election has stalled city's climate emergency response

PUBLISHED: 13:44 30 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:40 30 October 2019

Norwich Green Party councillor and Extinction Rebellion activist Jamie Osborn. Picture: Jamie Osborn

Norwich Green Party councillor and Extinction Rebellion activist Jamie Osborn. Picture: Jamie Osborn

Jamie Osborn

People wishing to have their say on how Norwich addresses climate change will be forced to wait longer to do so, because of the looming general election.

The first ever meeting of Norwich City Council's new panel for tackling the climate emergency was held on Wednesday, following a motion to set one up earlier this year.

The panel discussed a new action plan for reducing the city's impact in the coming decades - with the next step being to put it out to the public for its views and feedback.

However, with a general election looming, members were told this process would have to wait until after the nation goes to the polls to select its next government.

Nikki Rotsos, the council's director of customers and culture, said: "As we are about to go into an election, we can not go out to consultation on anything this major.

"While the election period technically hasn't started yet, if we were to start a consultation now it would need to stop almost straight away."

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It had been hoped that the city council's cabinet would then be able to approve the action plan in December once the public's views had been gathered, however this will now not happen until 2020.

Jamie Osborn, committee member and Green Party city councillor, said he felt the approach being taken by the city council needed more focus and greater urgency.

He said: "I do not really feel the climate is being treated as the emergency it is - I feel it is being treated as just one priority alongside a number of others.

"The action plan includes a lot about what we can do as a council, but it lacks ambition.

"I would also like to see more opposition involvement in putting the plan together - members of the shadow cabinet had just a week to analyse what is a rather lengthy piece of work ahead of the meeting."

Meanwhile, Labour cabinet members Kevin Maguire and Mike Stonard were chosen as chairman and vice chairman of the panel respectively.

The panel next meets on Wednesday, December 18.

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