‘We want to lead and not follow’ - Lord mayor reacts to lorry ban backlash

PUBLISHED: 15:57 08 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:24 08 July 2019

Vaughan Thomas, Lord Mayor of Norwich, with Dr Marian Prinsley, Sheriff of Norwich, during the Lord Mayors Procession 2019. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Vaughan Thomas, Lord Mayor of Norwich, with Dr Marian Prinsley, Sheriff of Norwich, during the Lord Mayors Procession 2019. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

As the dust settles on another Lord Mayor’s Celebration, questions remain over whether lorries will return to the procession next year.

This year was the first time in the event's history that petrol and diesel lorries have been banned from the event, in an eco-conscious move that divided opinion.

While dozens of organisations still battled the elements to participate in the parade, they had to make do without traditional floats, which were banned in an effort to reduce the carbon footprint of the annual bash.

And the decision, while welcomed by some, saw others criticise Saturday afternoon's parade - with more than 75pc of around 55 people who voted in a poll saying they disliked the absence of the lorries.

However, a spokesman for the city council said it was too soon to say whether the decision would be stood by next year, with discussions yet to begin into the 2020 event.

The Lord Mayors Procession 2019. Picture: Jamie HoneywoodThe Lord Mayors Procession 2019. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

The spokesman said: "This year's procession made history and we were delighted with the creativity of the 50-plus entries taking part, as well as the crowds that turned out despite the weather.

"Changes like these are examples of the small steps we can make in our daily lives to help protect the environment and we are really proud of the way out participants embraced this ethos."

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Vaughan Thomas, Labour councillor for Mile Cross and lord mayor of Norwich, said: "I feel it was a great day from my perspective.

"I feel it was a success even without the lorries and made a real statement of sustainability and what can be achieved - as a city we want to lead, not follow.

"The creativity of all the groups who participated was fantastic and the whole community generally embraced the ethos of the event.

"We all liked the big lorries but this showed the event can still go ahead without them and be a success."

On social media, the new 
parade faced criticism, with some people calling it "dire" and "rubbish".

But the decision to remove lorries was welcomed by Martin Schmierer, leader of the Green group on the city council and the lord mayor for the previous civic year.

He said: "I feel that ultimately it was the right decision for the environment, although I do feel participants could perhaps have been given more notice about the decision."

READ MORE: Opinion: Bring back the lorries - but if you really won't, please don't let the Lord Mayor's Procession die out

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