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Further push for west Norfolk to declare climate emergency

PUBLISHED: 11:06 15 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:06 15 October 2019

Extinction Rebellion protests outside Barclays on King's Lynn High Street. Photo: Extinction Rebellion King's Lynn & West Norfolk/Louise Gardner

Extinction Rebellion protests outside Barclays on King's Lynn High Street. Photo: Extinction Rebellion King's Lynn & West Norfolk/Louise Gardner

Louise Jasper

Activists will once again attempt to get a climate emergency declared in west Norfolk.

Extinction Rebellion protests outside Barclays on King's Lynn High Street. Photo: Extinction Rebellion King's Lynn & West Norfolk/Louise Gardner Extinction Rebellion protests outside Barclays on King's Lynn High Street. Photo: Extinction Rebellion King's Lynn & West Norfolk/Louise Gardner

They want to make climate change and biodiversity the top priority for West Norfolk Council, ensuring that every decision it makes considers the environmental impact.

Councillor Michael de Whalley has put forward a motion which if voted for, would see the council declare an emergency and pledge to achieve carbon net zero for the borough by 2030.

The motion also calls on the council to produce a report within six months of it passing, outlining how west Norfolk can reduce emissions through energy and other council strategies.

If passed the council would review the performance of its climate change strategy every six months along with lobbying Westminster to provide resources needed to make the required changes.

Extinction Rebellion protests outside Barclays on King's Lynn High Street. Photo: Extinction Rebellion King's Lynn & West Norfolk/Louise Gardner Extinction Rebellion protests outside Barclays on King's Lynn High Street. Photo: Extinction Rebellion King's Lynn & West Norfolk/Louise Gardner

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The motion also calls upon the council to recognise the seriousness of climate change, that the current levels of greenhouse gases are the highest in history and that those levels endanger the population.

Environmental group Extinction Rebellion has been calling on the borough to declare a state of emergency since the beginning of the year but the council has decided not to do so until it finds out the damage caused by the area and what could be done to prevent further pollution.

West Norfolk Council then debated its next steps at a meeting on Tuesday, September 2 however it did not discuss whether it would declare a climate emergency.

Extinction Rebellion protests outside Barclays on King's Lynn High Street. Photo: Extinction Rebellion King's Lynn & West Norfolk/Louise Gardner Extinction Rebellion protests outside Barclays on King's Lynn High Street. Photo: Extinction Rebellion King's Lynn & West Norfolk/Louise Gardner

Instead it decided it would not set deadlines for reducing emissions and that three working groups would be set up for carbon footprint, recycling and single use plastics, which would put forward potential plans for reducing emissions which could then be scrutinised by the council.

The council's environmental health manager, Dave Robson said at the meeting: "There will be a phased approach which will build on where we have already started and we are going to look at auditing whole district emissions.

"We're looking to have that work done within four months, so early 2020."

At the meeting councillors heard that west Norfolk had the highest levels of CO2 pollution in the county.

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