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Staff at Norfolk County Council to be urged to take own cups to work in green drive

PUBLISHED: 17:03 08 July 2019 | UPDATED: 08:20 09 July 2019

Norfolk County Council at County Hall in Norwich. Pic: Neil Perry.

Norfolk County Council at County Hall in Norwich. Pic: Neil Perry.

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Council staff are to be encouraged to take their own cups to County Hall as part of a package of environmentally-minded measures, which will also see the authority shift to using green electricity.

Andrew Jamieson, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for finance. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.Andrew Jamieson, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for finance. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.

The Conservative-run council is currently drawing up a new environmental policy, but has also identified ways County Hall itself is run which can be changed.

The measures are due to be discussed when the council's cabinet meets next Monday - but opponents have said more than lip service needs to be paid to tackle climate change.

The cabinet will be asked to agreed that, from October, the authority will shift to a 'green' tariff for electricity. That will cost £16,000 a year, but it will save 9,100 tonnes of carbon emissions a year.

The council has also been considering bringing an end to single use cups at County Hall, after the issue was raised in a motion by independent Sandra Squire last autumn.

Labour county councillor Jessica Barnard. Pic: Norfolk County Council.Labour county councillor Jessica Barnard. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

A working group looked at removing paper cups from the Norse-run coffee shops at County Hall. Compostable cups were considered.

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However, officers said "the most pragmatic and cost-effective method" is to encourage staff to take their own cups and put a new system in place for the 700 plus daily visitors to County Hall.

It is proposed that Norse 'lend' staff and visitors ceramic cups, with collection points around County Hall for collection and cleaning - at a cost of £7,690.

The council says the move will save 80,000 paper cups a year, while the authority also intends to only use recycled paper in the council's photocopiers.

With the council's pool car arrangement about to change, the cabinet will also consider whether electric vehicles should be introduced during the switch.

Andrew Jamieson, cabinet member for finance, said: "We are committed to reducing our impact on the planet and demonstrating how other organisations and individuals can do the same.

"That's why we are proposing a series of practical measures, which all add up to a significant contribution."

But Jess Barnard, Labour group leader on climate change, said: "These are no brainer measures that really don't need cabinet decisions.

"If their commitment to tackling climate change is more than lip service they'll need to do a lot more than tinker at the edges."

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