Growing calls for more action to be taken in West Norfolk to combat the effects of climate change have been supported by a very visible campaign.
Yesterday several prominent Lynn town centre buildings stood decked in blue tape designed to highlight possible flooding as a result of sea level rises.
Protesters with the Extinction Rebellion movement put the tape on Lynn Minster and Goldings bar in Saturday Market Place, Bank House in King’s Staithe Square, and the High Street premises of Boots, Burtons and Dorothy Perkins, and Nip and Growler Ale House.
The stunt was carried out ahead of West Norfolk Council’s mayor-making meeting at the town hall last night, prior to which Extinction Rebellion held a demonstration attended by about 50 supporters.
One of the activists told the Lynn News: “The demonstration coincides with the first meeting for the new councillors to stress the next four years will be their legacy and they need to take some decisions.”
A council spokesperson said it was people’s democratic right to protest and it would be up to members of the new council to decide how to respond to the issues raised.
Richard Burton, a carbon reporting and environmental consultant from Downham, claims councils are not doing enough and too few members of the public realise the seriousness of the threat.
“The UK’s leading companies are adopting ‘science-based’ carbon reduction targets that reflect the UN’s Paris Agreement on climate change. But local councils lag far behind and need to step up their ambitions. Even the UK’s national target excludes important omission sources, such as aviation, shipping and imported products, and so won’t deliver the emissions reductions we need.”
“Because of my work I talk to a lot of people about climate change. Locally, I’ve seen greater awareness, but most people still don’t appreciate the full seriousness of the threat. There’s a gulf between what the mainstream press reports and what’s in scientific press. Organisations like the UN are predicting over 100 million climate refugees, and its clear from the scientific press that unless we take drastic action soon, many parts of the world will experience famine.
“Climate change has effects on so many levels; floods, droughts, crop failures, habitat loss, extinctions, ocean acidification killing marine life. (It’s clear from the scientific press) this is the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced. Unless governments step up their efforts and respond rapidly, those of us who are middle aged now will, in our old age, see our children enter a much degraded world; one we wouldn’t wish them to inhabit.”
“I would certainly agree with the call for the borough council to declare a climate emergency. They should significantly reduce emissions, and broaden this objective to West Norfolk as a whole though a public awareness campaign.”
King’s Lynn Civic Society welcomes the highlighting of the effects of global warming locally, particularly as it is a low-lying area.
Executive committee member Rick Morrish said: “We would support the borough council addressing the considerable issues with climate change that are upon us and taking that forward into some solid policy that can enable us to work towards a carbon neutral economy.”
He added: “I think every one of us would say we’re not taking enough action but it’s Government and policy – including planning policy – which have got to make the big changes. A lot of the development in this borough is very car dependant.”
Mr Morrish said the council has been working with the civic society on a tree planting project which would bring environmental benefits.