Environment and climate change - at the centre of everything the council does
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirms that limiting global warming to 1.5°C is still possible with ambitious and immediate action. This is necessary to avoid global destruction – and to avoid losing many parts of Norfolk to rising sea levels.
We believe our County Council has a moral duty to play its part. But that the current political leadership has failed to take the lead on tackling climate change in Norfolk and take the bold, swift and long-term action that is needed to address the climate emergency.
Whilst many Tories scoffed and scorned, we took seriously the message that was brought to us in the Council Chamber by Extinction Rebellion in February 2019.
With persistence from the Liberal Democrats, Norfolk County Council has already committed to making itself carbon neutral by 2030.
If elected, we will take the lead on making Norfolk – not just Norfolk County Council - carbon neutral by 2030.
But tackling the climate emergency means much more than this.
As well as committing to putting Environment and climate change at the centre of everything the council does, we have set out some of the actions we would take if elected, starting with those that would have the highest impact.
Anyone who lives outside of a city or major town in Norfolk is likely to have oil-fired central heating. The biggest impact on greenhouse gas emissions in Norfolk would come from properly insulating these homes – but this requires innovative materials, a dynamic group of companies to supply and install them, and a county-wide campaign to draw on Government funding opportunities around home insulation.
If elected, we will set up an organisation within the council, staffed by full-time officers, with the goal of ensuring insulation upgrades are carried out in 50% of rural Norfolk homes by 2025, and the balance by 2030.
This will require close alignment with our economic development strategy, communicating widely to the public, supporting individual householders if needed in order to access finance, and stimulating innovative research and development of resilient materials and other insulation technology solutions in partnership with our county’s outstanding scientific community.
Funding Green Initiatives
No-one has the monopoly on good ideas, and it is our belief that the best projects emerge organically from within communities when people come together to make things happen. Just look how the people of Norfolk responded to coronavirus.
We want to acknowledge this when it comes to tackling the climate emergency, and make sure that innovations, projects and schemes that come from within Norfolk have the chance to flourish.
If elected, we will create a fund specifically for local green initiatives.
Whilst offshore power is an important part of our national energy strategy, local people hardly stand to benefit at all from the vast amount of wind energy generation taking place off Norfolk’s shores.
If elected, we will promote and enable the setting up of community energy schemes, so that local communities can benefit from the latest in green energy technology, and the power generated on their doorstep.
In addition, we will do our bit as a council by ensuring all Council electricity consumption is from renewable energy sources.
We need in our county to make many changes to respond to the climate emergency that need people to change their behaviour.
But, as our economic development strategy shows, green growth and green jobs are a huge opportunity – not a problem.
Nevertheless in the early stages many initiatives need incentives in order to accelerate them. Technology can be expensive at first, and behavioural change needs momentum.
If elected, we will help build this momentum by providing incentives to encourage the use of green infrastructure, including electric car charging points;
We will lead by example by changing energy suppliers for all council property to use green energy; and divest the council’s pension portfolio from fossil fuels