'Net zero by 2030' - Council makes green pledge

George, eight, and his sister, Lily, from Great Yarmouth, with a couple of young spindle trees from

George, eight, and his sister, Lily, from Great Yarmouth, at a tree giveaway run by North Norfolk District Council at Holt Country Park in February. The council has just adopted a plan to become carbon neutral by 2030. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Becoming carbon neutral by 2030 is the goal of an ambitious new action plan which has just been adopted by North Norfolk District Council (NNDC).

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of a Net Zero Strategy and Action Plan at a meeting in Cromer on February 23.

If successful, the plan would see the council beating the national net zero target by 20 years.

North Norfolk District Council member Nigel Lloyd

North Norfolk District Council environment portfolio holder Nigel Lloyd - Credit: Nicholas Manthorpe

Nigel Lloyd, NNDC environment portfolio holder, said: “Failure to limit our carbon emissions now will result in much higher mitigation costs later, not to mention the personal suffering that is predicted to result from rising sea levels and ever more extreme weather events.”

One of the plan's first targets is for the council to cut its carbon emissions by 500 tonnes a year over the next two years - its total was around 4,866 tonnes in 2020/2021. Water consumption will also be cut, and single-use plastics will be phased out by next year.

Carbon offsetting, or neutralising the impact of emissions by planting trees and taking other green measures, will also be used.

Mr Lloyd said the plan also focused on encouraging north Norfolk residents to go green, with steps including growing one's own food, improving home insulation and installing water butts all suggested in the plan. 

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"We want to take our residents with us on this journey," he said. 

Visitors to the district will be encouraged to use public transport, walk, cycle or use the district's network of 69 EV (electric vehicle) charging points in Cromer, Fakenham, Holt, North Walsham, Sheringham and Wells-next-the-Sea. 

At the meeting, Tory councillor Matthew Taylor questioned why there were no charging points in Stalham - which he represents - and Mr Lloyd said there plans to install some there as part of a further roll-out of the scheme. 

Matthew Taylor.

Stalham ward councillor Matthew Taylor. - Credit: Matthew Taylor.

Mr Lloyd said: "We want to spread these out as widely as we can."

Independent councillor Nigel Housden said the plan was "commendable" but said it failed to address "greenwashing" - or companies taking advantage of environmental programmes for their own gain. 

The plan follows NNDC adopting an environmental charter in April last year, and declaring a climate emergency in 2019 - the first Norfolk district council to do so.