1,000 signatures reached
To: Suffolk County Council
Suffolk County Council - ACT NOW!
We ask Suffolk County Council ("SCC") to act immediately to protect the public and the environment in light of the ecological and climate emergency.
This is an EMERGENCY - as acknowledged by SCC and the UK Parliament. There is no time to lose.
This includes taking action to do the following urgently:
1. Abandon plans for an Ipswich Northern Bypass.
2. Divest from fossil fuel companies.
3. Protect the natural environment on which people in Suffolk rely, including:
(a) ensuring air pollution does not exceed legal limits;
(b) preventing pesticide, herbicide and fertiliser contamination of Suffolk's rivers;
(c) restricting development which threatens to destroy precious remaining natural areas in Suffolk;
(d) instituting proper management of roadside verges to promote wild flowers and insects.
4. Invest in public transport, stop the reduction of school buses, establish car-free zones and enable safe bicycle travel.
5. Commit to protection of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB including Minsmere nature reserve.
6. Ensure that new homes built in Suffolk are low/zero emission and begin a program of retrofitting renewable energy for existing homes.
7. Create and be led by the decisions of a Citizen's Assembly on climate and ecological justice.
Why is this important?
1. Construction of the Northern Bypass requires development across an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and could cost in the region of £1 billion. £8 million has been wasted on the scrapped Upper Orwell Crossings project. We don't have time/money to waste on building more roads.
2. SCC’s pension committee invests in Shell, one of 25 entities identified by the Carbon Majors Report as responsible for 51% of all greenhouse gas emissions since climate change was officially recognised. By 1988 Shell knew, or should have known, of the destabilising effects of its products, but nonetheless expanded, while renewables saw relatively little investment.
3. Verges must be managed to promote birds, insects and plants, which are essential components of the natural systems supporting life. There are nearly half a million kilometres of rural road verge in the UK – that's equivalent to half our remaining flower-rich grasslands and meadows  and is a vital refuge for bees, butterflies and birds. Improper management annihilates wildflowers and the habitat and food these areas could provide to wildlife. Testing found British rivers to be contaminated with insecticides and revealed the River Waveney on the Suffolk/Norfolk Border to be the worst polluted in the UK, exceeding the acute harm level for a month. Developments which destroy remaining habitat are often being allowed. All of this contributes to a dangerous situation in which life is being wiped out.
4. The air in Suffolk is so toxic that it is breaking the law. Air pollution is recognised as a contributing factor in the onset of heart disease, lung conditions and cancer. Figures reveal the emergency hospital admission rate for asthmatic children in Suffolk to be higher than the national average. Modelling has estimated that across Ipswich in one year air pollution was responsible for the equivalent of 63 excess deaths. The annual health cost to society of the impacts of particulate matter alone throughout the UK is estimated at around £16 billion. Air quality needs to be dealt with through measures in line with urgently halting emissions, such as improving public transport, enabling safe bicycle travel, introducing car-free zones and supporting facilities that reduce people's need to travel, such as local village shops.
5. The Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a stunning landscape including Ramsar protected wetlands, sites of special scientific interest, and the renowned Minsmere Nature Reserve which is one of the most important wildlife sites in Europe. This area must remain protected.
6. Emissions need to stop urgently — so new homes should be zero/low emission.
7. Citizens’ Assemblies – representative samples of people selected at random from the population, coming together to examine evidence, challenge the experts and hear what various interest groups have to say – have been deployed to deal with controversial issues from law and order to reduced fossil fuel use. Taking the debate about our future outside a parliamentary bubble and into the community has proved successful and Citizens' Assemblies are being established throughout the UK from Scotland to Lambeth Council. A situation exists where for at least 10 years Ipswich has had illegal levels of pollution. Given the serious health implications of this for the people of Suffolk, particularly children and older people, a Citizen's Assembly is urgently needed here.
1. "Are we ready to pay the true price to build new by pass north of Ipswich?". EADT. https://www.eadt.co.uk/ea-life/ipswich-northern-by-pass-row-1-5918511. (7 March 2019)
2. "Upper Orwell Crossing: Ipswich bridge plan scrapped after £8m spent." BBC. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-46948086. (21 January 2019)
3. "Council invests millions in fossil fuel firm despite aim to be 'greenest county'" EADT. https://www.eadt.co.uk/news/suffolk-county-council-quizzed-on-royal-dutch-shell-investment-1-5961456. (27 March 2019)
4. Carbon Majors Report 2017. CDP Worldwide. (July 2017)
5. "Shell predicted dangers of climate change in 1980s and knew fossil fuel industry was responsible" The Independent (8 April 2018)
6. “The Good Verge Guide” Plantlife. https://www.plantlife.org.uk/uk/our-work/publications/good-verge-guide-different-approach-managing-our-waysides-and-verges. (June 2016)
7. "Heavy Neonicotinoid Insecticide Contamination Damaging British Rivers". Buglife. https://www.buglife.org.uk/news-and-events/news/heavy-neonicotinoid-insecticide-contamination-damaging-british-rivers. (12 December 2017)
8. "East England towns and cities have illegal NO2 levels”. BBC. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-35458600. (1 March 2016)
9. The health impacts of poor air quality. www.parliament.uk. https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmenvfru/433/43308.htm. (15 March 2018)
10. "Campaign urges Suffolk parents to take asthma in children seriously to avoid hospital admissions". Ipswich Star. https://www.ipswichstar.co.uk/news/campaign-urges-suffolk-parents-to-take-asthma-in-children-seriously-to-avoid-hospital-admissions-1-5397084. (16 February 2018)
11. Public Health England (2014)
12. Defra. Valuing the Overall Impacts of Air Pollution. (2010)
13. Awarded Areas in UK. Council of Europe. https://www.coe.int/en/web/bern-convention/united-kingdom. (2019)
14. "Plans underway to create new Citizens' Assembly in Scotland". The Scotsman. https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/plans-underway-to-create-new-citizens-assembly-in-scotland-1-4947736. 14 June 2019)
“Citizens Assemble! Lambeth Council to empower residents to guide the response to climate emergency”. Brixton Buzz. www.brixtonbuzz.com/2019/06/citizens-assemble-lambeth-council-to-empower-residents-to-guide-the-response-to-the-climate-emergency/ (14 June 2019)
Photo - Covehithe marshes © www.snthomas.co.uk