As climate emergencies are being declared all around the globe and people are waking up to the crisis, an urgency to cut carbon emissions becomes more and more apparent. Instead Norfolk County Council is planning to spend hundreds of millions of pounds to build a road, increasing transport emissions. This is an embarrassing example of leadership in the fight against climate change.
The road will also be catastrophic for wildlife. Cutting across woodlands, wetlands and grasslands destroying habitats and causing local extinctions. However, like all environmental issues, the picture is much more complex when you take it down to a local level and investigate the impacts decisions are having on local people.
The NDR (Northern Distributor Road) has been left unfinished and for many this is a point of huge frustration. Public transport services are infrequent or non existent, leaving people with no option but to drive. Traffic through many of the villages in the area is congested and dangerous and local people want a solution to this as soon as possible. Acknowledging this frustration and accepting that many people welcome the new road for these reasons is vitally important when proposing actions and solutions.
On Sunday 7th July, a few Norwich XR members visited Ringland River Green to meet locals and discuss peoples hopes and fears about the road. Some of the words that came up where feelings of 'helplessness' and 'resignation' with the proposed road being a 'necessity'. Some expressed feeling devastated at the idea of losing the natural surroundings, but remained angry at the congested roads and being ignored.
People also shared how much they loved the area and the childhood memories it evoked.
There was a real sense that the area is loved and of course no one wants the destroy the natural landscape. However, transport is a real issue and if not a road then what ?
We hope the council will slow down and consider other options. For example, regular and reliable bus services could be introduced as a way to improve congestion. Yes it may not be the final solution, but its progressive.
Thanks to all those that attended. We had a lovely afternoon on the grass and the cake was delicious.