Norwich cuts carbon dioxide emissions in half

Views from Mousehold Heath. Picture: Danielle Booden

Carbon dioxide pollution has fallen in Norwich by half since 2005 - Credit: Danielle Booden

A huge decline in pollution from industry has lead to carbon dioxide emissions in Norwich having almost halved since 2005. 

The rest of Norfolk saw a fall of around 30pc in CO2 emissions from 2005 to 2019, with urban areas cutting their pollution much faster than rural ones.

Carbon dioxide from businesses dropped by two thirds in Norwich, while emissions from homes also fell by a third, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

But there was little change in transport pollution and it is now the biggest single source of CO2 emissions in Norfolk.

Emma Hampton, cabinet member for climate change at Norwich City Council, said: “Tackling the climate emergency is a real priority for us, and we will continue to support and fund initiatives to continue the progress we’ve already made.”

Emma Hampton, Labour candidate for Nelson. Pic: Labour Party.

Emma Hampton is cabinet member for climate change at Norwich City Council - Credit: Labour Party

However, Green Party councillor Jamie Osborn argued Norwich would struggle to continue to cut at such a rate as most of the easy fixes have already been made.

He argued that Norfolk County Council needed to stop building new roads and instead focus on public transport and encouraging walking and cycling.

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Emissions from transport fell by just 3pc in the 15-year period and more new roads are planned. 

Jamie Osborn, Green city and county councillor.

Jamie Osborn, Green city and county councillor. - Credit: Jamie Osborn

Norwich’s decline in emissions was well above the national average, halving from 6.8 tonnes per person to 3.2.

Across the UK, emissions dropped by a third in the same time.

The government has pledged to cut carbon dioxide, which is contributing to climate change, to net zero by 2050, but many councils have bettered that pledge. 

Broadland Council has said it aspires for council activities to be carbon neutral well ahead of the government’s 2050 target.

The area has experienced an increase in emissions from transport over the previous five years, which may be down to road building in the district, with Broadland Northway (NDR) opening in 2017.

Western Link

Protesters against the new Western Link road which will cut through the Wensum valley. - Credit: Neil Didsbury

The so-called "missing link" of the NDR is now being planned by Norfolk County Council, which would join the Taverham end of the NDR with the A47 near Ringland. The council says there is a strong business case for the new road. 

But several groups, including many councillors, are opposing the new road as it would run through the Wensum valley - an area of special scientific interest - and lead to the felling of ancient woodland.  

Norfolk County Council put forward its carbon-cutting plans this month and said it was planning to transfer more streetlights to LED and to develop a county-wide cycling and walking plan. It is also proposing to stop buying petrol and diesel cars as well as gas boilers. 

In South Norfolk, transport pollution has also risen in the last 10 years.

According to its environmental strategy, it will invest in carbon offsetting measures such as solar generation and tree planting.