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Green credentials of Norwich City Council questioned amid ‘climate emergency’ call

PUBLISHED: 11:06 28 November 2018 | UPDATED: 11:08 28 November 2018

The action being taken to reduce carbon emmissions in Norwich has been questioned by campaigners. Pic: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

The action being taken to reduce carbon emmissions in Norwich has been questioned by campaigners. Pic: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

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The green credentials of Norwich City Council have been questioned by campaigners who want more rapid action to combat climate change.

Dr Jo-anne Veltman is a member of Climate Hope Action In NorfolkDr Jo-anne Veltman is a member of Climate Hope Action In Norfolk

A stark report by the United Nations warned unprecedented changes, including halving carbon by 2030 and bringing it to zero, are needed to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

And, at a meeting of Norwich City Council, campaigners from Climate Hope Action in Norfolk called on the council to declare a climate emergency.

Dr Jo-anne Veltman, a children’s doctor at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, asked a public question at City Hall on the issue.

She said: “We also know that Norwich and Norfolk face specific impacts, including, but not limited to flooding, land loss, impacts on the Broads, water scarcity, agriculture and public health.

Kevin Maguire, Labour cabinet member for safe city environment.  Pic: SubmiitedKevin Maguire, Labour cabinet member for safe city environment. Pic: Submiited

“We are currently on a pathway for temperatures to increase 3-4C within my teenage daughter’s lifetime and we are risking catastrophic, unstoppable climate change.”

She said Bristol City Council had passed a motion declaring a climate emergency and committed to being zero-carbon by 2030 and urged City Hall to do the same.

Kevin Maguire, Labour-run council’s cabinet member for safe city environment, said: “The council is very much aware of the impact which climate change can have.”

He said that was why the authority had invested in making council homes more energy efficient, had delivered priority bus lanes in the city and had spent millions on cycleways and footpaths.

He said: “To date we have achieved an impressive 57.1pc carbon reduction, which far exceeds our 40pc target by 2018. The government’s national target of 57pc carbon emissions reduction is due to be delivered by 2030, so we are 12 years ahead of that.”

He added the Norwich area capita emissions per person had also fallen, from 6.9 tonnes of carbon emissions in 2005 to 3.8 tonnes in 2016.

He said the recently launched City Vision 2040 document stated that the council was “committed to shifting to clean energy by 2040 and becoming carbon neutral by 2050.”

But Dr Veltman said, while those measures were welcome, they were “nowhere near” the level of action needed.

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