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Warning parts of Great Yarmouth and King's Lynn 'will have to be abandoned' due to rising sea levels

PUBLISHED: 22:15 29 January 2019 | UPDATED: 22:16 29 January 2019

Environmental campaigners at a meeting of Norwich City Council on January 29. Photo: Andrew Boswell

Environmental campaigners at a meeting of Norwich City Council on January 29. Photo: Andrew Boswell

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A stark warning has been issued for a climate emergency to be declared, amid predictions parts of Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn will have to be abandoned by the end of the century - because of rising sea levels.

The warning was made at a meeting of Norwich City Council on Tuesday night.

Green group leader Denise Carlo tabled a motion calling for City Hall to declare a climate emergency.

She said: “Great Yarmouth is just six metres above sea level. Built on three river catchments – the Yare, Bure and Waveney - it is facing interconnected threats from river flooding, changing sea level and storm surges and rising groundwater.

“If the sea rises by one to two metres by the end of this century as predicted, in other words within the lifetime of our children, parts of Great Yarmouth, King’s Lynn and smaller Norfolk coastal communities will have to be abandoned.

“Scientists are sounding the alarm - make radical cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 or face dire consequences.”

She criticised the city council for its support of the A11 dualling, A47 dualling, the NDR, the Western Link, Norwich Airport expansion, a Food Enterprise Zone at Honnigham and out-of town business parks.

She called for the city council to declare the climate emergency and to pledge to “move every sinew” to become carbon neutral by 2030.

The council’s recently published 2040 City Vision sought carbon neutrality by 2050.

The chamber at City Hall was filled with environmental campaigners, including from the Norwich Extinction Rebellion Group.

However, Labour amended the motion to acknowledge, rather than declare, a climate emergency.

And the amendment was to continue the work for Norwich to become carbon neutral as soon as possible, rather than by 2030.

Labour’s Kevin Maguire said the original motion was “truly great” and should be applauded.

But he said it was “too limited” and said carbon neutrality could be achieved sooner.

Liberal Democrat Judith Lubbock, accused Labour of a “cynical, politically motivated move to make it their motion”.

Mr Maguire said: “We do understand the problem of climate change. We have been working towards addressing it and we will continue to do so.”

He said, despite budget cuts, it tried to create sustainable communities.

He said the council could not declare solely a climate emergency in the context of social and economic emergencies.

And, as an angry member of the public yelled ‘shame’ before storming out, Mr Maguire said the council had done considerable work to reduce the city’s carbon footprint.

Labour’s amended motion was agreed, but the Greens abstained.

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