Expert calling for urgent action to tackle climate change

Asher Minns, executive director of the UK-wide Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research

Asher Minns, executive director of the UK-wide Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research - Credit: University of East Anglia

A climate change expert is urging people, businesses and councils to act now to prevent a environmental crisis in Norwich.

Asher Minns, executive director of the Tyndall Change for Climate Change Research, which has a base at the University of East Anglia, is the co-chair of Norwich Climate Change Commission which meets for the first time next month.

It is being backed by Norwich City Council and made up of 10 independent experts from analysts and business bosses to people from the arts and biodiversity to help develop projects and infrastructure for the "city's journey to net zero carbon".

Mr Minns, 52, who lives in Norwich and has been involved in climate change research for the past 25 years, said: "Everything is to play for. Action needs to be taken for us to be climate ready and reduce emissions. The curve in emissions needs to bend downwards by 2030.

"Norwich has a willingness and ambition to do this. We need to implement solutions. It is about what we do on the ground now."

He said the most important aspects of the long-term commission were to tackle improving air quality and public transport, enhancing green space, and making homes more sustainable in terms of how they are heated.

The commission will also involve people across the city through the commission holding public events.

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"It isn't rocket science - we need to get to grips with how vehicles move around Norwich. Norwich is perfect for enhanced public transport and cycling. Public transport needs to be cheaper and more reliable," Mr Minns added.

One of the First Eastern Counties' Pink Line buses in action in Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

A bus in Norwich city centre - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

He praised the support from the city council but said: "Norfolk County Council could be thinking a lot more about climate and sustainability that goes far beyond roads."

A Norfolk County Council spokesman said: “We’ve been working hard over the last two years on many programmes set out in the council’s environmental policy, and have made strong progress in a number of areas, including delivering our local cycling and walking infrastructure plans, developing a pollinator action plan, creating a new environmental hub at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse, installing more energy efficient street lighting, and working with partners on the delivery of our new countywide EV charging point strategy."

How to do your bit to help the environment?

Mr Minns has given advice on how you can do your bit to help the planet.

1 - Make your climate change concerns known to the decision makers at a local and national level so it is treated as a key issue.

2 - Save energy at home and look into renewable energy options. There is investment in homegrown energy and in the future there will be a lot of small-scale sites generating solar, wind and battery power.

3 - Really think about whether you need to make a car journey and if other alternatives exist.

4 - For people with gardens and green space, put in more plants that are beneficial for biodiversity.

5 - Think about eating less meat and look at a more plant-based diet.