Kate Strong joins County Council to launch Climate Strategy for Norfolk
8 June 2023
Kate Strong, world record holder and endurance cyclist, has joined Norfolk Deputy Cabinet Member Cllr Lana Hempsall at the launch of Norfolk’s Climate Strategy, laying out a path to a greener, more sustainable future for Norfolk.
Visiting Norfolk’s Environmental Hub at Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse Museum, the veteran triathlete saw Norfolk’s Environmental Hub, including the native tree nurseries and the projects it supports, which form part of the work already underway on Norfolk’s Climate Strategy.
Kate Strong said: “My Climate Cycle is about finding some of the best examples of environmentally conscious work in the UK and getting people involved with them. Starting here in Norfolk, I’ve seen the incredible work done by Beryl and New U, and today with Norfolk County Council.
“A changing climate is going to hit us all, we it takes serious thinking and planning to protect people from it’s effects: that’s why work on real plans and strategies, such as Norfolk’s, is so important. But it will also take changes from each and every one of us, and that’s what my visits to the different projects throughout the country will be showing. If it gets businesses addressing their own impact on the environment, and what they can do to lessen it, then every mile cycled will be worth it.”
The Climate Strategy, which was adopted by Norfolk County Council’s Cabinet last month, sets out how the council will work not only to reduce its own carbon emissions, but to drive down emissions across the county, protect the unique environment of Norfolk, and to seize the opportunities the move to a green economy represents, securing investment and growth for Norfolk.
Cllr Eric Vardy, Norfolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “We were delighted to welcome Kate to the launch of our Climate Strategy: we’ve spoken a lot about what the County Council can do to reduce our own emissions, but the fact is that responding to climate change is about more than just the council. This strategy lays out how we can do our bit for the environment, but also how we’re going to support others in Norfolk to do theirs as well.
“We know how keen many residents, businesses and landowners in Norfolk are to become greener in their activities, and our strategy shows how we at the County Council can work alongside them in that journey, as well as acting as the voice for Norfolk to secure sufficient investment for the county to respond to inevitable changes in temperatures, rainfall and flooding.”
Key proposals include:
•Supporting active and sustainable transport, including further bus improvements and electric vehicle charging.
•Providing space for nature and developing a nature recovery strategy
•Retrofitting council buildings to take out gas and oil heating and improve insulation – and encouraging businesses, residents and other organisations to do the same
•Reducing emissions from the council’s companies, such as Norse
•Developing the green economy, with support for green skills, sustainable tourism and businesses
•The development of a nature recovery strategy to protect our natural assets and encourage greater biodiversity
•Working with the Tyndall Centre for climate change research at the University of East Anglia, to understand climate change impacts and how Norfolk might adapt to them
•Close collaboration between public sector, business, community and voluntary groups
The launch came as Kate Strong, world champion triathlete and campaigner for sustainable living and environmental consciousness, visited Norfolk at the start of her Climate Cycle, a 3,000 mile, 3-month adventure around mainland Britain talking with people, communities, organisations, charities and councils about what they’re doing to mitigate climate change.
The first projects Kate has visited are in Norfolk, with Beryl Bikes in Norwich, Norfolk County Council’s Master Composting and New U Enterprises recycling and sustainable fashion workshop starting off Kate’s journey.
Kate’s visit came just days after Norfolk County Council’s Cabinet reiterated its commitment to its Net Zero by 2030 pledge and committed £22.5m to the first tranche of work retrofitting the County Council estate to lower emissions.
To meet the Net Zero commitment, the council will achieve a two-thirds reduction in carbon emissions, compared to the 2016/17 baseline, by 2024/24, and an 85% reduction for the year 2028/29. Norfolk County Council has already reduced emissions from that baseline by half.
But the strategy emphasises that most of Norfolk’s carbon emissions come from heating people’s homes, from transport and from land use and agriculture. It also warns that Norfolk is already seeing the effect of changed weather patterns and needs to adapt to more-frequent flooding, drought and extreme heat, and that residents, businesses and public services will all need to adapt.
The council has already planted more than 260,000 trees from its one million tree target, and the council will soon be discussing plans to meet the remainder of the target.
By supporting the development of community tree nurseries, including at the demonstrator site visited by Kate Strong and Cllr Hempsall at the Environment Hub based at Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse, the project is also building a pipeline of locally sourced native trees as well as engaging the public with its mission.