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'There's too many aeroplanes in the world' - Norfolk County Council backs action on climate change

PUBLISHED: 15:37 15 April 2019 | UPDATED: 16:23 15 April 2019

Climate change campaigners occupied Norfolk County Council chamber at its February budget meeting. Picture Dan Grimmer.

Climate change campaigners occupied Norfolk County Council chamber at its February budget meeting. Picture Dan Grimmer.

Archant

The need for “urgent action” over climate change has been recognised by Norfolk County Council, but the authority has stopped short of joining authorities which have claimed a ‘climate emergency’.

Bev Spratt, Conservative county councillor. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.Bev Spratt, Conservative county councillor. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.

Two months after protesters from campaign group Extinction Rebellion occupied the chamber at County Hall in protest at what they said was inaction among all levels of government over climate change, every party at the council tabled a motion about the issue.

The parties could not agree to merge the motions into a single one, but the Conservative motion was agreed by the council.

That motion is that the council “recognises the serious impact of climate change globally and the need for urgent action” and that it needs to “lead by example and demonstrate to the next generation our action and responsibilities in tackling climate change”.

Motions by Labour and the Liberal Democrats, which included declaring a 'climate emergency' - as Suffolk County Council recently did - failed.

Conservative county councillor John Fisher. Photo: Broadland District CouncilConservative county councillor John Fisher. Photo: Broadland District Council

The independent group's motion - for more be done to encourage pollinators, such as bees - was taken into the Tory motion.

John Fisher, the Conservative councillor who proposed the Tory motion, said the difficulty with declaring a 'climate emergency' was that it was so hard to define.

And there was disagreement over the tactics used by the Extinction Rebellion protesters.

Lib Dem Steffan Aquarone said the group's occupation of the chamber had a “profound” impact on him.

He said: “For me, it has changed my mind about the impact of this issue. I agreed with the protesters about the need to bring all levels of government to a standstill because no one level can deal with this.”

But Labour's Emma Corlett disagreed, saying the protesters had “trampled” on the rights of others to speak at that meeting, where budget decisions were taken which are impacting on disabled people.

Mr Fisher acknowledged there was tension between reducing carbon emissions and the council's ambitions for schemes such as the Northern Distributor Road Western Link.

Bev Spratt, Conservative councillor, said: “I think we have got to do a lot more, such as not flying all over the world. There's too many aeroplanes in the world. There's too much flying and that's a big contributor to pollution.”

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