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'The end of an era' - Reaction to plans to ban diesel and petrol lorry floats from Lord Mayor's Procession

PUBLISHED: 11:54 27 January 2019 | UPDATED: 08:10 28 January 2019

Lorries are to be banned from Norwich's Lord Mayor's Procession. Picture: Ian Burt

Lorries are to be banned from Norwich's Lord Mayor's Procession. Picture: Ian Burt

There has been a big reaction to the news that lorries which run on diesel or petrol will be banned from being floats in Norwich's Lord Mayor's Procession this year.

Concerns over pollution from vehicles has prompted Norwich City Council to announce no diesel or petrol vehicles will be able to take part in the parade.

It marks a major change for the celebration, which has traditionally seen HGVs turned into floats from which colourful characters wave at the crowds.

And many people on social media were unhappy with the ban and claimed it was “the end of an era”.

Matthew Tink said: “Yet they let dirty old buses drive through the city centre everyday. The impact of a few slow moving trucks which are pretty much just running on tick over for a couple of hours is minimal in comparison.”

The Lord Mayor's Procession winding through the streets of Norwich. Picture: Ian BurtThe Lord Mayor's Procession winding through the streets of Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt

Eric Winter said: “Just another move to kill the city centre. The pollution from the longest bus station in the UK (Castle Meadow to St Stephens) produces local pollution but a lot is in the air from other areas.”

Simon Lewis added: “A real shame, think this decision will be the end of an era. I certainly won’t go to watch roller skates and bicycles.”

Andrew Knights said: “I feel sorry for all the businesses that rely on the crowds that turn up to watch the procession. A floor level procession will only be visible to the first two rows of spectators. It’s hard enough now to see what is going on with the floor displays and marching groups.”

And Malcolm Grimes said: “What about all the petrol generators that will be running to give power to the fair in Chapelfield Gardens and the music stage and all the other stalls around the city? Are the council going to ban them as well?”

The Lord Mayors Procession 2018. Pic: Sonya Duncan.The Lord Mayors Procession 2018. Pic: Sonya Duncan.

But some people did see the benefit of the ban when asked if they supported it.

Ady Harmer said: “Yes, not only the pollution aspects but the safety aspect. Nobody should be standing or seated on the trailer of a moving lorry.”

Matthew Holmes said: “The Norwich Pride march through the city doesn’t have vehicles. Yes I remember my sister being on a float when we were kids but times change and it’s a brave step.”

Jemma Masters said: “I like the idea of a more environmentally friendly parade. Maybe cutting back on a few trucks and using alternative means. But they shouldn’t ban them completely. It will have a completely different vibe.”

And Julie Twite added: “That might be a great idea when more electric vehicles are in use but we’re not there yet. The majority of the floats that enter are small community groups and I think entrants may have just been put off.”

Council bosses say it will be the first traditional carnival of its type to ban petrol and diesel engines, with this year’s event having the theme of ‘love the world around you’.

Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council, said: “We want to make sure all of our events, which are enjoyed by thousands of people in the city each year, are run as sustainably as possible, and this is an important step in this journey.

“I am looking forward to seeing lots of innovative and exciting entries in this year’s Lord Mayor’s Procession.

“The theme is about celebrating our wonderful world, as well as highlighting the small changes we can all make to look after it.”

Last year’s procession of some 70 entrants included 14 lorries and 25 smaller vehicles travelling on the route.

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