Certainty to climate change - what are Norfolk's hopes for 2022?

The XR COP26 protest as demonstrators gather at City Hall in Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Climate change protesters on the streets of Norwich - will 2022 see more decisive action over the issue? - Credit: Denise Bradley

A period of certainty, an end to the pandemic, a return to some of the staples of Norfolk life lost during lockdown, along with action to curb climate change and revitalise Norwich.

Those were some of the responses we were given when we asked people what they hoped 2022 might bring. 

David Reeve, chairman of Sandringham Flower Show

HRH The Prince of Wales shares a nice moment with a young visitor to the show. Picture: Ian Burt

Prince Charles meets show-goers at Sandringham before the pandemic forced the cancellation of the flower show for two consecutive years - Credit: Ian Burt

Sandringham Flower Show has had to cancel for the last two years because of the pandemic.

"One year was bad enough, who'd have thought we'd be cancelling for two years because of a health issue,"  said Mr Reeve. "It's been a huge void.

"We're definitely planning to go ahead if restrictions, constraints and health issues don't constrain us. We're in the full planning cycle, as we'd normally be."

Dr Pallavi Devulapalli, GP from Downham Market

Green candidate Pallavi Devulapalli is looking to oust Liz Truss in South West Norfolk. Picture: Wes

Pallavi Devulapalli will be travelling to Glasgow to take part in climate rallies - Credit: West Norfolk Green Party

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Dr Devulapalli said, above all, she was hoping for a return to normal.

"It would be nice to see the pandemic away from us and for people to take responsibility for their own health," she said.

"We need to take stronger measures for people to stay healthy and move away from living an unhealthy lifestyle. Children especially are bearing the brunt of this.

"On the climate front, this is a crucial decade for us, this is make or break, we really need to pull the stops out and change our direction of travel. We need to stop building roads and start focusing on public transport and doing other things that will help us."

Jim McNeil, volunteer coordinator at Stoke Ferry Community Enterprise

Save the Blue Bell Committee members (L-R) Jim McNeil, Debi Leggett, Lyn Juniper-Solley and her son

Save the Blue Bell campaigners in Stoke Ferry (from left) Jim McNeil, Debi Leggett, Lyn Juniper-Solley and her son Cody Solley, Eileen Duck, committee chairman Stephen Ward and The Corner Shop owner Zoe Ager. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Villagers at Stoke Ferry are looking forward to raising a glass or two in their own pub after successfully campaigning to buy the community's last surviving pub, the Blue Bell.

Mr McNeill said: "Community healing would be good, getting through the trauma of Covid and the divisions that has created and also success for community ventures such as the Blue Bell to maintain our villages as thriving and viable places to live.

"Personally, I'd like councils taking on board the challenges of climate change and the climate crisis and housing and infrastructure development. There are hopeful signs they are doing that."

Dr Charlie Gardner, Extinction Rebellion activist

Extinction Rebellion protesters demonstrated outside City Hall in Norwich. Picture: Ruth Lawes

Extinction Rebellion protesters demonstrated outside City Hall in Norwich - Credit: Ruth Lawes

Dr Charlie Gardner believes 2022 could be an important year for the climate change movement.

"In 2021 we have seen huge numbers of people who have woken up to the climate and ecological emergency," he said.

"I would like to see this concern translated into action. People all over East Anglia are really worried about climate.

"I'm very hopeful change will happen, people are concerned now but 2022 is going to be the year where we reach ordinary members of the public."

Mark Kacary, owner of the Norfolk Deli in Hunstanton

Mark Kacary, who owns the Norfolk Deli with his wife, Rosie. Pic: Archant

Mark Kacary. - Credit: Ian Burt

"A period of some certainty wouldn’t go amiss, so that businesses of all shapes and sizes didn’t have to spend their time constantly looking over  their shoulder at what the virus was about to throw at them next, what restrictions they were going to have to live and trade through.

"It would be great to see Hunstanton manage to run a few more events in the year, events which have been missed by many of the businesses and which helps to bring people to the town.

"The Summer carnival, the tennis tournament, the kite festival to name just three, but hopefully if we can get past this virus we can see the return of things like screen on the green, to get people out and about, socialise and enjoy themselves."

Jo Rust, from the Save the Queen Elizabeth Hospital campaign

Jo Rust

Jo Rust (left) with campaigners outside the QEH and North West Norfolk MP James Wild (centre, rear) - Credit: Jo Rust

"My hopes for the New Year are that our QEH is awarded the full funding it needs to build a total  new hospital that’ll meet all our healthcare needs for the foreseeable future.

"Without this our future looks a bit grim, particularly because of the impact of Covid and the decade of Tory party cuts."

Duncan Baker, Conservative MP for North Norfolk

Duncan Baker covid testing

Duncan Baker, MP for North Norfolk, have said that people should not worry after a case of the Omicron variant was found in the district. - Credit: PA/Supplied by Duncan Baker

"With 2021 ending on a low note due to a new variant, my hope for 2022 is for North Norfolk to be able to properly reopen up once again," he said.

"With our booster programme and an improved scientific understanding of Covid-19, I’m optimistic for the coming year; ultimately, I want to see people out and about, meeting friends and family and engaging in all the things we have had to sacrifice and forgo over the past couple of years. 

"Our businesses saw significant domestic tourism last year which helped our local economy and I hope this will assist us again. It is already predicted that the economy will be the fastest to rebound in the G7 again, placing us a positive position for jobs and opportunities."

Doktor Snake, Norwich-based voodoo writer

Doctor Snake. en 09/07/04

Norwich-based voodoo writer Doktor Snake - Credit: Adrian Judd

"The biggest, most powerful thing that could literally bring us utopia in 2022 is this: Politicians, leaders, tech giants and everyday people learn to be consciously aware and how to still internal dialogue, self-talk, which in turn would bring their emotions under control and make for a rational world.

"The fact is, even those who claim to be highly rational often fall prey to their emotions, and critical thinking goes out of the window.

"There are techniques to do this. First steps are you focus your attention on your body and the input of your senses, sight, sound, and vision. This helps still your mind and makes you far more observant of yourself and the world around you. You can then see your emotional reactions brewing, and stop them in their tracks."

Barry Howell, chair of the Norwich Society

Barry Howell, chairman of the Norwich Society.

Barry Howell, chairman of the Norwich Society. - Credit: Sylvaine Poitau

"For many years, the city has marketed itself as a leading shopping destination. However, during the past two years, the pandemic has accelerated the change in people’s spending patterns, with a much greater emphasis on online shopping.

"The results of this change are now being seen with empty boarded-up shops and lower footfall. If we are to keep the vibrancy of the city centre which makes Norwich such an attractive place, all those with an interest in seeing the city continue to prosper need to work together to create a new bold vision for the future.

"We have a unique architectural heritage stretching back to Saxon times, with fabulous Norman, Tudor, Georgian and Victorian buildings, all contained within a well-preserved medieval street plan, on which to build a tourism experience to rival the likes of York and Bath.

"Anglia Square’s redevelopment is a great opportunity for the city to show what it can achieve with modern sustainable design which complements the local area and the city at large. 

"The city centre has changed many times over the centuries, and we are sure it can change again. What we hope for in 2022 is a coming together of the interested parties to start to make some of this a reality."

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