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Business leaders pledge to bring climate change to very forefront of Norwich 2040 vision

PUBLISHED: 14:35 31 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:35 31 October 2019

Norwich City Council leader Alan Waters. Picture: Bill Smith

Norwich City Council leader Alan Waters. Picture: Bill Smith

Norwich City Council © 2019

A sea change in thinking has seen the issue of climate change thrust to the very forefront of a vision for Norwich in the next 20 years.

Two years ago, Norwich in 2040 was launched, a think tank of some of the city's most influential figures which set about shaping the future of the city for decades to come.

Pulling together business leaders, local authorities and other organisations, the working group is tasked with creating and working towards a vision for a Norwich which is fit for the future.

As members came together for its third annual conference, the issue of climate change was placed in a far more prominent position, with the message clear that it has grown into a much more urgent priority.

Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council, said: "I think over the past 18 months or so it really has become clearer how important an issue it is.

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"All around us there are reminders of its impact - forest fires that won't go out, really odd weather and species becoming extinct. Climate change has become a background issue to everything - so has to be at the front of our thinking."

Throughout the conference, which saw a variety of speakers and presentations, the issue of the climate was involved in the thinking.

With allowing young people a greater voice set as one goal of the 2040 vision, a panel from the Norfolk Youth Advisory Group discussed matters of the environment in detail - calling for greater education and attention to detail to be made over climate issues.

Chris Sargisson, chief executive of the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, then announced the launch of the Norwich Business Climate Leaders initiative.

In doing this, he called on "heroic business leaders" to come together and share ideas on what they can do to ensure their organisations are reducing their impact on the environment, and particularly their carbon footprint.

He said: "We need to set targets and measures - not just having discussions. Everyone needs to be thinking of the different ways they can make an impact.

"This is a real chance for people to be heroic business leaders and set examples for others."

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