Have your say in green survey

People in Norwich can have a say on how the city should tackle climate change from today in a new online survey, as Tara Greaves reports.

People in Norwich can have a say on how the city should tackle climate change from today in a new online survey, as Tara Greaves reports.

It might seem odd to talk about global warming when there is still snow on the ground.

However, despite the current wintry weather, many scientists believe the planet is getting hotter - and it is because of the way we live our lives.

From the way we heat our homes to how we get to school or work, everything we do has an impact on the earth.

While, for some, the effects of global warming have been evident for some time, for others the signs are only just starting to show - including in Norwich, which is in a low-lying county at an increased risk of flooding and coastal erosion.

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Now, in a bid to plan for how people in the city will learn about and deal with the impacts, the newly set up Norwich Independent Commission on Climate Change, which is made up of a panel of key local figures, has put together a survey covering seven core areas.

The commission is keen to hear from the public on discussion points including how to cut the city's carbon emissions, but ensure the poor and disadvantaged are not made worse off.

And if people think the city council should be given more freedom to raise taxes to help Norwich reduce its carbon emissions.

Brian Morrey, chairman of the NICCC, Norwich City Council deputy leader and councillor for sustainable development, said: 'The board consists of a range of experts and people involved in the life of the city, including representatives of businesses, faith groups, the media, political parties and the city council.

'Its purpose is to seek views of local people on the possible impacts of climate change, and how the city council, other organisations and local people might better prepare for a more sustainable future, particularly including ways to reduce future emissions of greenhouse gases.'

While much of what is reported about climate change is negative, there are also positive benefits, including new job opportunities.

To get a balanced view, the commission, which includes Graham Smith, dean of Norwich Cathedral, Tim O'Riordan, emeritus professor of the University of East Anglia, and Evening News editor Tim Williams, wants to hear views from across the board.

The survey was initially sent to 20 people on Friday to get their thoughts, including Richard Powell, regional director of the RSPB and chairman of the Norfolk Climate Change Forum.

He said: 'As regional director of the RSPB, I welcome the commission and its role in driving the debate on climate change. Climate change is undoubtedly the most important issue facing mankind and biodiversity.

'Norwich has a key role in this debate; what we do in the city has an impact on the surrounding area, particularly the Broads and our specially protected landscapes.

'As chair of the Norfolk Climate Change Forum, I look forward to working closely with the commission to understand how Norwich impacts on the county and to make sure we add value to the whole county's response to climate change. There are many opportunities in this complex and worrying agenda and our county is well placed to lead in many green initiatives and technologies.'

Britain is the first country in the world to have legally binding carbon targets, which aim to cut emissions, but if Norwich is to play its part in helping to meet those commitments it will need everyone to help.

To take part in the survey log on to www.norwich.gov.uk, click on E for eco issues and then click on the link at the bottom. A limited number of paper copies are also available via Megan Davies on 01603 212237. To keep up to date with NICCC via Facebook search Norwich Commission on Climate Change.

Are you doing something amazing to help the environment? Contact Tara Greaves on 01603 772446 or email tara.greaves@archant.co.uk