Norfolk council with county's highest level of CO2 pollution does not declare climate emergency
PUBLISHED: 23:06 03 September 2019 | UPDATED: 10:22 04 September 2019
A Norfolk council did not make a recommendation to declare a climate emergency after hearing the borough has the highest levels of CO2 pollution in the county.
West Norfolk councillors heard the area has the highest levels of CO2 pollution in the area at a meeting on Tuesday.
The borough has been lobbied by environmental group Extinction Rebellion to declare a climate emergency, following in the footsteps of other local authorities, including neighbouring North Norfolk.
But the council said it would assess the extent of the problem and what it could do about it before deciding.
On Tuesday councillors heard from environmental health manager Dave Robson and senior policy and performance officer Ged Greaves, who gave no recommendation on whether a climate emergency should be declared.
Their report said West Norfolk was responsible for the highest amount of industry CO2 pollution in Norfolk, measuring 700 kilotonnes of emissions in 2017, with the second highest areas, Norwich and South Norfolk, measuring 200 KT.
Mr Robson said that British Sugar was one of the biggest contributors to industry pollution.
West Norfolk's second highest polluter was found to be transport, making up nearly 30pc of the district boundary's emissions due to the borough's congested A and B roads.
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Councillor Alexandra Kemp suggested that more park and ride facilities could help to offset a large amount of transport emissions, however Mr Robson refused to discuss the idea adding that this could be discussed at a meeting of the transport committee.
The rest of the area's pollution was made up from domestic causes such as houses using oil or solid fuel for heating, and methane from land and forestry use.
Domestic CO2 emissions for the area have steadily decreased from 400KT in 2005 to just under 250KT in 2017, despite West Norfolk also being the second highest polluter in the county for domestic CO2 emissions and transport emissions.
The update showed the council had been using solar panels, renewable energy, reduced office space, digitalisation, and hybrid lease cars in an attempt to reduce its carbon footprint.
Mr Robson said: "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."
He added that there was no set deadlines for reducing emissions and that three working groups would be set up for carbon footprint, recycling and single use plastics, which would be looking to put forward potential plans for reducing emissions which could then be scrutinised by the council.
Councillor Colin Sampson, who chaired the meeting, said he hoped the presentation had cleared up what was being done by the council to avert serious climate change.