Saturday, 21 September 2013

NDR: Norwich Green Party consultation response.

Check out the Norwich Green Party response to the pre-application consultation on the NDR...
This vital issue is still running and running!

Important excellent work from Andrew Boswell et al, here:
 



Norwich Northern Distributor Road                                                                           20th September 2013
Department of Environment, Transport and Development
Norfolk County Council
County Hall
Martineau Lane
Norwich
NR1 2DH

Dear ETD,

Public Consultation July – September 2013 – NDR NSIP Pre-application

Please find below the Consultation Response from Norwich Green Party.

Author
This Norwich Green Party submission is authored by Norfolk County Councillor Andrew Boswell.  I make this statement as local politician elected in 2005 to represent residents in the Norwich Nelson division, an area to the West of the City Centre.  The Green Party holds 19 council seats [15 City Council, 4 County Council] within the Norwich urban area and is the main opposition group on the City Council.  Norwich Green Party has a written constitution and over 1100 active members and supporters within the City and outlying areas of Norfolk.

Prior to being elected to Norfolk County Council, I pursued a career in scientific research and computing support for scientific research.  My doctorate was in protein molecular structure and dynamics (Oxford, 1981). I worked for 10 years (1984-1994) in the design of the Very Large Scale Integrated (VLSI) circuits that have made the current digital revolution possible, and from 1995-2006 I managed the High Performance Computing (HPC) Research infrastructure at the University of East Anglia (UEA, Norwich) and worked with scientific research groups across the campus including those modelling the global climate system.   

Endorsement
The submission is endorsed by Councillor Richard Bearman, Leader of the Green Party group on Norfolk County Council, and Councillor Claire Stephenson, Leader of the Green Party group on Norwich City Council.

1               Illegitimate consultation


1        The consultation is illegitimate and fundamentally flawed.

2        The public has been unreasonably asked to respond to a consultation on a scheme whose legal basis and rationale have both changed halfway through.  The situation is so complex that we have provided a timeline table below to summarise the four different rationales and consultation phases. 


1.1         The public have faced four rationales and consultation phases

3        The consultation documents, originally published on June 24th, proposed the NDR to be an NSIP under legislation which was removed from the Statute by a new statutory instrument went onto the Statute book on July 25th.  This ended the legitimacy of the original consultation.

4        Crucially, any member of the public responding during the period July 8th-July 25th would have done so on an NDR that was justified[1] by its “primary purpose [of the NDR] is thus to improve accessibility to, from and within the northern and eastern parts of the greater Norwich urban area and the towns and villages to the north of the city.

CONSULTATION TIMELINE



Consultation area
Areas with attributable impact of the Scheme requiring consultation
June 24th
SOCC published
North Norwich and a ring of villages beyond
Norwich City centre, south Norwich and South Norfolk part of the Norwich Policy Area
July 8th- July 24th
Consultation starts under 'old' PA2008
unchanged
ditto
July 25th- Aug 9th
INTERREGNUM period.  The legal basis for NSIP designation removed by statutory instrument in Parliament.
unchanged
ditto
August 10th - August 19th
Made NSIP by SoS under S35 Planning Act 2008 BUT Public not informed
unchanged
East Norfolk including whole of Norwich Policy Area, the A47 corridor and Great Yarmouth
August 19th- Sept 16th
No updates to consultation documents despite change of legal basis

unchanged
East Norfolk including whole of Norwich Policy Area, the A47 corridor and Great Yarmouth
Sept 16th – Sept 20th
A feasibility study into extending the NDR agreed.  This changes the policy position of Norfolk County Council as to the extent of the Scheme.
unchanged
Above plus SSSI and SAC sites in Wensum Valley to West of Norwich[2].

KEY


Original legal basis


Omission of large part of Norwich Policy Area from consultation
 
No legal basis


Omission of large part of East Norfolk and Great Yarmouth from consultation

Changed legal basis


Omission of SSSI and SAC sites in Wensum Valley to West of Norwich from consultation


5        Between July 25th and August 19th, any member of the public would have been responding to an NDR, proposed as an NSIP, but without any published legal basis as an NSIP. 

6        From August 19th, when a new NSIP status, on an entirely different legal basis, was publically announced for the NDR, any member of the public would have been responding to a different rationale for the NDR – that it would connect Norwich Airport with the A47 TEN-T and Great Yarmouth Enterprise Zone.  These and other new rationales were given in the Secretary of State’s S35 Direction.

7        Further, following a motion passed at Norfolk County Council on September 16th to carry out a feasibility study into extending the NDR westwards across SSSI and SAC sites in the Wensum valley, any reasonable member of the public would have additional reasons for responding to the consultation.

8        In summary, there are four possible rationales and phases within the consultation period, during which a member of the public might have responded.  During each phase, any member of the public would have been replying to a different consultation. Therefore, there have actually been four consultations.

9        This is, first, very confusing to the public, and, second, means that the consultation cannot be evaluated by Norfolk County Council in any rational and consistent way.  It is unacceptable on both counts.

1.2         The consultation area has been wrong on all four consultations

10    The main consultation area has been limited to North Norwich and a ring of villages beyond.  This is incorrect when Statement of Community Consultation (SoCC) justifies the NDR as removing through traffic from Norwich city centre and delivering the Norwich Area Transportation Strategy (NATS) which covers the entire Norwich Policy Area.

11    Even under the first consultation rationale, the consultation area should have included all of Norwich including Norwich City centre and south Norwich, and the South Norfolk part of the Norwich Policy Area.  

12    I represent the Norwich Green Party who hold all City Council seats in 5 wards in a band of across Norwich, from west to east: Wensum, Nelson, Town Close, Mancroft and Thorpe Hamlet.  All the residents in these wards have been excluded from the consultation area, despite their wards being in area that will be affected by the NDR, and having consistently voted for Councillors opposed to the NDR.  I object strongly, on behalf of the 19 Green Party council seats based in these wards, that our constituents have been disenfranchised.

13    As additional rationales have been added, as above, the consultation area should have been much larger.  This is shown on the table above.  By Sept 20th and the fourth consultation rationale, the area should have included the whole of East Norfolk including whole of Norwich Policy Area, the A47 corridor and Great Yarmouth, and also villages to the West of Norwich relating any new route over the Wensum valley.

1.3         Lack of democratic process in consultation preparation

 

14    Norfolk County Council consulted Norwich CC on the draft Statement of Community involvement.  However, Norwich City councillors were not consulted themselves as part of this.   Instead the officers submitted a response themselves.

15    Had the 15 Green Party councillors been consulted, or even notified that the draft consultation document existed, we would have highlighted the need for the extension of the limited consultation are to include the city centre and south Norwich, and South Norfolk part of the Norwich Policy Area. 

16    Once again, in Norfolk, councillors have been by-passed by officers in a matter which is of considerable concern to them.  A complaint was made to the relevant Norwich City Council officer in retrospect, but this has not resulted in Norwich councillors being properly involved.

17    Further, discussion at Norwich City Council has been limited to comments on the consultation from the Cabinet.  The consultation has not been tabled for Full City Council, thereby denying a significant number of Norwich City councillors the chance to debate the issue and to reflect the views of their residents.  This is further disenfranchisement of residents in the Wensum, Nelson, Town Close, Mancroft and Thorpe Hamlet, and other City wards such as Eaton and Lakenham. 

1.4         The consultation is not compliant with the Aarhus Convention

18    Citizens over wide area of Norfolk have been denied their rights to access to information and to participation in decision making under the UN Aarhus Convention (see extracts below) to which the UK Government is a signatory.

19    The Aarhus Convention, signed by the UK Government establishes a legal requirement for public participation in decisions (Articles 6 - 8) affecting the environment and quality of life. The Convention states that in drafting rules and regulations governments shall strive to ‘promote effective public participation at the appropriate stage, and while options are still open’.

20   As shown on the above timeline, the third [August 19th - Sept 16th] and fourth [Sept 16th - Sept 20th ] phases of this consultation introduced additional rationales and scope.  Yet no further documentation was made available to the public.  For example, a 25 page document “Norwich Northern Distributor Road – an infrastructure project of national significance” was sent to Government on July 25th by Norfolk County Council.  This introduced significant new rationales related to the Scheme.  None of this information has been made available to the Public as part of the consultation.

21    AARHUS CONVENTION extracts:

Article 7 extract:
“Each Party shall make appropriate practical and/or other provision for the public to participate during the preparation of plans and programmes relating to the environment, within a transparent and fair framework, having provided the necessary information to the public”.   

Article 8 extract:
“Each Party shall strive to promote effective public participation at an appropriate stage, and while options are still open, during the preparation by public authorities of executive regulations and other generally applicable legally binding rules that may have a significant effect on the environment.”


1.5         The consultation should be re-run

22    Given all of the above, the consultation should be re-run on a clear basis with consistent rationale for the Scheme.



2               Funding


23    Norwich City Council Leader and counterparts in South Norfolk and Broadland, and under the auspices of the Greater Norwich Development Partnership (GNDP) have committed to giving £40-60 million towards a three-quarter NDR costing at least £144 million.

24    If the road, following feasibility study, is extended across the Wensum valley via a hugely costly viaduct scheme this could add the order of another £100m at least.  We are sceptical of claims that this could be funded by ‘shadow tolling’.  Whilst such claims may be made to promote the public perception of the fiscal viability of embarking on such an extension, there is no evidence base that that a successful case could be made for shadow tolling.    

2.1         Infrastructure planning by the GNDP Councils is in a state of flux

25    Inspector Keith Holland’s, BA (HONS) DIPTP MRTPI ARICS, examination into the Draft Community Infrastructure Levy Charging Schedules for Broadland, Norwich and South Norfolk recommendation a substantial downwards revision of the CIL Levy rate.

26    New infrastructure funding plans are being developed due to CIL shortfall, but there is no clear information at this stage to guide priorities and inform stakeholders. 

27    Further uncertainty has been added by the September 19th announcement of the disbandment of the Grater Norwich Development Partnership and its replacement with a Greater Norwich Growth Board. 

2.2         Integrated transport schemes are being delayed

28    Analysis of the JCS Infrastructure Framework (JCSIF) and the GNDP Local Investment Plan and Programme (LIPP) [3] shows that Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) projects in the Norwich NE Quadrant which are a key part of the NATS proposals for promoting sustainable transport and reducing congestion in Norwich have already have delays or cost increases, these are:

·         A 5 – 10 year delay on the Airport BRT [T12]
·         A shorter delay on the Salhouse Road BRT [T11]
·         A shorter delay on the Broadland Business Park (BBP) – Salhouse Road development link [T15]

29    The existing delays and additional risks to these projects compromise the NATS proposals, and the deliverability and soundness of sustainable transport objectives of the JCS.

30    Further in recent years the County Council itself has, year-on-year, diverted funds away from Integrated Transport to other road costs.

31    It is simply not true that the NDR scheme will help these sustainable transport developments.  It will in fact, due to its huge costs, divert funds away, and Norwich will see the vision of a decent public transport system fade away.

2.3         Badly needed, community infrastructure projects are compromised across the Norwich Policy Area

32    The fiscal drain, upwards of £50m from the NDR, will leave insufficient money to pay for the £500m minimum needed in the wider Norwich area to provide infrastructure for water, sewage treatment, public transport, health centres, schools, community facilities and green spaces alongside new homes in JCS. 

33    These is also a rapidly escalating financial impact on other stakeholders such as the NHS.  For example, the cost of hospital bed provision across the JCS area has rocketed from £28m in the JCS to £72.6m in the LIPP over the entire JCS timescale.    

 

3               Climate Change


34    Our fundamental position on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions is that a transport scheme like the Norwich Northern Distributor Road scheme needs to be assessed against a national legislative and regulatory framework that includes the Climate Change Act 2008 and the National Planning Policy Framework (2011).  When this is done properly, the Scheme will not be deemed to be suitable for development due to the additional carbon footprint that it creates.

35    Appendix A gives a brief overview of the issue of climate change, the global situation, the science and as it relates to policy.

3.1         The role of the scheme in the national legislative framework on Climate Change

 

36    Any scheme may be a carbon generator or a carbon sink: that is, it adds to carbon emissions or reduces carbon emissions.  The difficulty is in establishing to what extent it does so, and this is the role of assessment.

37     Our position is:

“Any scheme that generates carbon emissions makes an incremental change to the overall UK Carbon Budget, and the levels of future global carbon emissions, accumulated in the atmosphere, in the wrong direction.  This is counter to the socio-economic responsibilities to reduce carbon that are inherent in current national and local policy, and may make it harder for the Country to deliver that policy. “

38    Any such scheme should be seen within a legislative hierarchy as shown below from the international, national Climate Change Act to scheme level:

International negotiations (UNFCCC etc)

 Legal requirement
National Carbon Budget
Legally binding targets set at this level in 5 year Carbon Budget periods
Sector
Transport
Energy Supply
Other sectors
Other sectors
Sector level
Responsibility
National Projection
National Projection


Responsibility
Regional contribution
Regional contribution


Responsibility
Local Authority contribution
Local Authority contribution


Responsibility
Scheme
(eg Road)
Scheme
(eg Gas Power station)



39    Whilst the national ‘legally binding’ target for carbon emissions only exists in legislation at the level of the national 5 year Climate Budgets, our position is that there are responsibilities at every other level down to the Scheme level.  

40    Challenging targets have been set for carbon reduction in the national five year Carbon budgets.  In the context of Climate Change Act carbon budgets for the first three 5 years periods up to 2023, the Carbon Plan makes a projection of 15% savings for the transport sector by 2020[4].

41    A logical conclusion is that at the emissions sectorial level, under-achievement in one sector would require over-achievement elsewhere (see diagram above): for example a 20 MtCO2e under achievement in decarbonisation of the national Energy Supply requires over achievement in other sectors, such as transport, of the same amount.

42    Further Local Authorities and their contribution to regional and national sectorial targets must be seen the same way: “All parties have to contribute”.  It is responsibility to “take the lead” is at the local authority level in line with the Government’s Localism agenda.  Any one local authority than under achieves requires an over achievement by another local authority elsewhere in their region or the country. 

43    This is not a prescriptive approach.  The maths simply does not add up otherwise. 

44    To make the maths add up, it is necessary for there to be “ownership of the carbon issue at the local level” (for example, by local authorities).  Such an evolving ownership, as evidenced already by some local authorities, is completely consistent with, and also a mature and responsible approach, to Localism. 

45    By building high-carbon infrastructure, specifically the NDR, Norfolk is not making its local and regional contribution to the national sectorial target of 15% reductions of transport emissions by 2020. This is a dereliction of the socio-economic responsibilities to reduce carbon emissions at the local and regional level.

3.2         The role of the planning system

46    There are very strong arguments on the basis of the urgency to deal with climate change that would preclude allowing schemes to be developed that are assessed as carbon generators.  We express this as follows:

“The planning system is charged with producing reductions in CO2 emissions (NPPF, para 94) in line with its contribution to meeting national Carbon Budgets as set out in the Climate Change Act 2008.  There is an associated singularity in socio-economic responsibility in relation to this: that is, that any singular decision process for scheme or project that increments carbon emissions should take account of a socio-economic responsibility to reduce carbon emissions under the NPPF and the Climate Change Act 2008”.

47    The Norwich Northern Distributor Road, as a local authority major transport scheme, has carbon emissions associated with it in the 5 figure tonnes per annum range [ie: 10,000 – 99,999 tCO2e/annum].  The ‘latest’ exact figure cannot clearly be determined from the promoter’s case: at one time, it was given as 25000 tonnes of carbon a year.  At this scale of emissions, a scheme is making significant contributions to the local and regional carbon footprint.  It clearly cannot demonstrate that it can save carbon emissions according to the transport sector projections under the Carbon Plan, and is counter to the NPPF and Climate Change Act.


4               Right to Add Statement


48    The Author and Norwich Green Party reserve the right to introduce any such additional documents as may be relevant to future Inquiries in respect of the Scheme.




Yours sincerely



Norfolk County Councillor and Norwich City Councillor Andrew Boswell
Of behalf of  Norwich Green Party
September 20th 2013


 

5               APPENDIX A:  Climate Change: The problem and current global situation


49    Climate change ranks very high indeed as a UK government policy issue embracing very strong policy commitments to reduce greenhouse gases (so-called “mitigation”) so that we can avoid the worst consequences of climate change.  The science of climate change is clear that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions (i.e. those generated by human activity) are contributing to increases in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHG)  including carbon dioxide (CO2) and that there is a powerful case for reducing these emissions. 

50    In a seminal 2008 paper NASA and Columbia University scientist Professor James Hansen[5] states that we have already exceeded the safe level of atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs) to prevent ice sheet disintegration and equilibrium sea level rise of at least several metres scientist.  
Humanity today, collectively, must face the uncomfortable fact that industrial civilization itself has become the principal driver of global climate. If we stay our present course, using fossil fuels to feed a growing appetite for energy-intensive life styles, we will soon leave the climate of the Holocene, the world of prior human history. The eventual response to doubling pre-industrial atmospheric CO2 likely would be a nearly ice-free planet, preceded by a period of chaotic change with continually changing shorelines.

51    An article by twenty nine of the world’s leading climate scientist published in the journal Nature in 2010[6] identified 9 “planetary boundaries” that should not be crossed if we are to avoid drastic consequences in terms of biodiversity, weather, food production and the continuation of liveability for our species on planet Earth.  The article concluded that the safe limit (i.e. the planetary boundary) for climate change was 350 parts per millions (ppm) of CO2 in the atmosphere:  this level was breached in the mid-1980s. 

52    Correcting this breach (“mitigation”) and returning to a safe planetary boundary for atmospheric gases requires nothing less than reducing GHG concentrations to 1985 levels (ie 350ppm CO2eq).  Note, this is different to reducing rates of emissions - a decreasing, but positive rate of carbon emissions rate still generates an overall increase in GHG concentration levels over time.  To reduce concentrations of CO2 to safe levels implies actually removing CO2 from the atmosphere (ie a negative rate of emissions). 

53    This is explained using the analogy of water in a bath where water trickles into the overflow at a depth of 12 inches (350ppm), or more, causing environmental damage.  We are now at 14 inches (nearly 400ppm) and water is not only pouring through the overflow but close to pouring over the side (‘catastropic climate change’).   As water is continually being added via the tap (the addition of about 2ppm of CO2 to the atmosphere each year), each year the bath level rises.  The challenge to reach 350 ppm is not only to reduce the tap flow (“reduce emissions”) but to remove water from the bath (“reduce overall concentrations of GHGs”) back to no more than the 12inch level.  

54    Global levels of CO2 have been measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii[7] since the 1950s.

    
55    Pre-industrial revolution levels of CO2 were around 270ppm.  The 300ppm threshold was crossed around 1950, and the 350ppm level was breached around 1986. 

56    The 400ppm level was reached, at globally averaged measurements, in May 2013[8], although localised levels of 400ppm were recorded over the Arctic in the summer of 2012[9].

57    The global average concentrations for May 2010, 2011 and 2012 were 392.95, 394.16, 396.78 ppm CO2[10].       

58    One of the global physical characteristics which indicates the effect of anthropogenic global warming is the melting of the Arctic polar ice cap.  On 27th August 2012, scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Centre announced that the extent of sea ice in the Arctic had reached its lowest level since satellite measurements began[11], breaking the previous record in 2007.  The graph below shows how this record was broken about 3 weeks before the usual minimum of summer ice (mid September)[12].


59    For a number of years, UK Government and international UN policy has had the objective at limiting global temperature rises to 2oC.

60    On 23rd August 2012, Prof Sir Bob Watson, in an interview with the BBC[13] said that efforts to stop a sharp rise in global temperatures were now "unrealistic". He said that the rise could be as high as 5oC - with dire consequences.  Sir Bob is among the most respected scientists in the world on climate change policy. He is currently chief scientist at the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and a former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

61    On the very current evidence, given above, we are not performing well on carbon reduction targets and tackling climate change.  There is no room for complacency.  In May 2013, the Independent newspaper reported that UK GHG emissions jumped by 3.9% in 2012 more than any other country in Europe[14].

62    This background has been given because it is crucially important to understand that projects like the NDR are building into the system permanent future increases in CO2 emissions, and associated increases to overall GHG concentrations.  These may be ‘small’ on the global level, but they are significant given the need for socio-economic responsibility at all levels under the UK Climate Change Act (as explained in main text).

63    With the global issue of carbon emissions, the issue of relative scale is not relevant. Any increase in emissions anywhere increases total emissions (the water level in the bath analogy). 

64    The consequences of failing to meet appropriate CO2 reduction targets are very serious indeed.  They include an increase in the frequency and severity of severe weather events, floods, disruption to transport systems, loss of agricultural productivity and large public and private financial losses in an era of fiscal restraint and in the context of reduced insurance cover. 




[1] Section 3.2.1.13, NDR Preliminary Environmental Information Report, June 2013

[2] These sites may be technically within or outside the Norwich Policy Area depending on different proposed routes for NDR extension.  
[5]  Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim?’, Hansen J., et al, April 2008,    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2008/TargetCO2_20080407.pdf  

[6]   A safe operating space for humanity, Sept 24th 2009, http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v461/n7263/full/461472a.html

[7]   Graph from “Trends in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide”, http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/ (accessed August 29th 2012)

[8]   Global carbon dioxide in atmosphere passes milestone level - Climate warming greenhouse gas reaches 400 parts per million for the first time in human history, Guardian, May 10th 2013, http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/may/10/carbon-dioxide-highest-level-greenhouse-gas  (accessed 13th May 2013)

[9]   Greenhouse gas levels pass symbolic 400ppm CO2 milestone, Guardian, June 1st 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jun/01/record-greenhouse-gas-trouble-scientists (accessed 29th August 2012)

[10]   Data from ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/trends/co2_mm_mlo.txt (accessed 29th August 2012)

[11]  “Arctic ice melts to record low levels”, Daily Telegraph, 28th August 2012, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/9502543/Arctic-ice-melts-to-record-low-levels.html, (accessed 29th August 2012)

 

[12]   Graph from “Arctic sea ice just hit a record low. Here’s why it matters.”, Washing Post, 28th August 2012,   http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/08/28/arctic-sea-ice-just-hit-a-record-low-heres-why-it-matters/  (accessed 29th August 2012)

[13]   “Science adviser warns climate target 'out the window'”, August 23rd 2012,  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19348194, and video of interview http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19359020 (accessed 29th August 2012)

 

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25. 26. NDR: Norwich Green Party consultation response. 27. 28.

29.
Check out the Norwich Green Party response to the pre-application consultation on the NDR...
This vital issue is still running and running!

Important excellent work from Andrew Boswell et al, here:
 



Norwich Northern Distributor Road                                                                           20th September 2013
Department of Environment, Transport and Development
Norfolk County Council
County Hall
Martineau Lane
Norwich
NR1 2DH

Dear ETD,

Public Consultation July – September 2013 – NDR NSIP Pre-application

Please find below the Consultation Response from Norwich Green Party.

Author
This Norwich Green Party submission is authored by Norfolk County Councillor Andrew Boswell.  I make this statement as local politician elected in 2005 to represent residents in the Norwich Nelson division, an area to the West of the City Centre.  The Green Party holds 19 council seats [15 City Council, 4 County Council] within the Norwich urban area and is the main opposition group on the City Council.  Norwich Green Party has a written constitution and over 1100 active members and supporters within the City and outlying areas of Norfolk.

Prior to being elected to Norfolk County Council, I pursued a career in scientific research and computing support for scientific research.  My doctorate was in protein molecular structure and dynamics (Oxford, 1981). I worked for 10 years (1984-1994) in the design of the Very Large Scale Integrated (VLSI) circuits that have made the current digital revolution possible, and from 1995-2006 I managed the High Performance Computing (HPC) Research infrastructure at the University of East Anglia (UEA, Norwich) and worked with scientific research groups across the campus including those modelling the global climate system.   

Endorsement
The submission is endorsed by Councillor Richard Bearman, Leader of the Green Party group on Norfolk County Council, and Councillor Claire Stephenson, Leader of the Green Party group on Norwich City Council.

1               Illegitimate consultation


1        The consultation is illegitimate and fundamentally flawed.

2        The public has been unreasonably asked to respond to a consultation on a scheme whose legal basis and rationale have both changed halfway through.  The situation is so complex that we have provided a timeline table below to summarise the four different rationales and consultation phases. 


1.1         The public have faced four rationales and consultation phases

3        The consultation documents, originally published on June 24th, proposed the NDR to be an NSIP under legislation which was removed from the Statute by a new statutory instrument went onto the Statute book on July 25th.  This ended the legitimacy of the original consultation.

4        Crucially, any member of the public responding during the period July 8th-July 25th would have done so on an NDR that was justified[1] by its “primary purpose [of the NDR] is thus to improve accessibility to, from and within the northern and eastern parts of the greater Norwich urban area and the towns and villages to the north of the city.

CONSULTATION TIMELINE



Consultation area
Areas with attributable impact of the Scheme requiring consultation
June 24th
SOCC published
North Norwich and a ring of villages beyond
Norwich City centre, south Norwich and South Norfolk part of the Norwich Policy Area
July 8th- July 24th
Consultation starts under 'old' PA2008
unchanged
ditto
July 25th- Aug 9th
INTERREGNUM period.  The legal basis for NSIP designation removed by statutory instrument in Parliament.
unchanged
ditto
August 10th - August 19th
Made NSIP by SoS under S35 Planning Act 2008 BUT Public not informed
unchanged
East Norfolk including whole of Norwich Policy Area, the A47 corridor and Great Yarmouth
August 19th- Sept 16th
No updates to consultation documents despite change of legal basis

unchanged
East Norfolk including whole of Norwich Policy Area, the A47 corridor and Great Yarmouth
Sept 16th – Sept 20th
A feasibility study into extending the NDR agreed.  This changes the policy position of Norfolk County Council as to the extent of the Scheme.
unchanged
Above plus SSSI and SAC sites in Wensum Valley to West of Norwich[2].

KEY


Original legal basis


Omission of large part of Norwich Policy Area from consultation
 
No legal basis


Omission of large part of East Norfolk and Great Yarmouth from consultation

Changed legal basis


Omission of SSSI and SAC sites in Wensum Valley to West of Norwich from consultation


5        Between July 25th and August 19th, any member of the public would have been responding to an NDR, proposed as an NSIP, but without any published legal basis as an NSIP. 

6        From August 19th, when a new NSIP status, on an entirely different legal basis, was publically announced for the NDR, any member of the public would have been responding to a different rationale for the NDR – that it would connect Norwich Airport with the A47 TEN-T and Great Yarmouth Enterprise Zone.  These and other new rationales were given in the Secretary of State’s S35 Direction.

7        Further, following a motion passed at Norfolk County Council on September 16th to carry out a feasibility study into extending the NDR westwards across SSSI and SAC sites in the Wensum valley, any reasonable member of the public would have additional reasons for responding to the consultation.

8        In summary, there are four possible rationales and phases within the consultation period, during which a member of the public might have responded.  During each phase, any member of the public would have been replying to a different consultation. Therefore, there have actually been four consultations.

9        This is, first, very confusing to the public, and, second, means that the consultation cannot be evaluated by Norfolk County Council in any rational and consistent way.  It is unacceptable on both counts.

1.2         The consultation area has been wrong on all four consultations

10    The main consultation area has been limited to North Norwich and a ring of villages beyond.  This is incorrect when Statement of Community Consultation (SoCC) justifies the NDR as removing through traffic from Norwich city centre and delivering the Norwich Area Transportation Strategy (NATS) which covers the entire Norwich Policy Area.

11    Even under the first consultation rationale, the consultation area should have included all of Norwich including Norwich City centre and south Norwich, and the South Norfolk part of the Norwich Policy Area.  

12    I represent the Norwich Green Party who hold all City Council seats in 5 wards in a band of across Norwich, from west to east: Wensum, Nelson, Town Close, Mancroft and Thorpe Hamlet.  All the residents in these wards have been excluded from the consultation area, despite their wards being in area that will be affected by the NDR, and having consistently voted for Councillors opposed to the NDR.  I object strongly, on behalf of the 19 Green Party council seats based in these wards, that our constituents have been disenfranchised.

13    As additional rationales have been added, as above, the consultation area should have been much larger.  This is shown on the table above.  By Sept 20th and the fourth consultation rationale, the area should have included the whole of East Norfolk including whole of Norwich Policy Area, the A47 corridor and Great Yarmouth, and also villages to the West of Norwich relating any new route over the Wensum valley.

1.3         Lack of democratic process in consultation preparation

 

14    Norfolk County Council consulted Norwich CC on the draft Statement of Community involvement.  However, Norwich City councillors were not consulted themselves as part of this.   Instead the officers submitted a response themselves.

15    Had the 15 Green Party councillors been consulted, or even notified that the draft consultation document existed, we would have highlighted the need for the extension of the limited consultation are to include the city centre and south Norwich, and South Norfolk part of the Norwich Policy Area. 

16    Once again, in Norfolk, councillors have been by-passed by officers in a matter which is of considerable concern to them.  A complaint was made to the relevant Norwich City Council officer in retrospect, but this has not resulted in Norwich councillors being properly involved.

17    Further, discussion at Norwich City Council has been limited to comments on the consultation from the Cabinet.  The consultation has not been tabled for Full City Council, thereby denying a significant number of Norwich City councillors the chance to debate the issue and to reflect the views of their residents.  This is further disenfranchisement of residents in the Wensum, Nelson, Town Close, Mancroft and Thorpe Hamlet, and other City wards such as Eaton and Lakenham. 

1.4         The consultation is not compliant with the Aarhus Convention

18    Citizens over wide area of Norfolk have been denied their rights to access to information and to participation in decision making under the UN Aarhus Convention (see extracts below) to which the UK Government is a signatory.

19    The Aarhus Convention, signed by the UK Government establishes a legal requirement for public participation in decisions (Articles 6 - 8) affecting the environment and quality of life. The Convention states that in drafting rules and regulations governments shall strive to ‘promote effective public participation at the appropriate stage, and while options are still open’.

20   As shown on the above timeline, the third [August 19th - Sept 16th] and fourth [Sept 16th - Sept 20th ] phases of this consultation introduced additional rationales and scope.  Yet no further documentation was made available to the public.  For example, a 25 page document “Norwich Northern Distributor Road – an infrastructure project of national significance” was sent to Government on July 25th by Norfolk County Council.  This introduced significant new rationales related to the Scheme.  None of this information has been made available to the Public as part of the consultation.

21    AARHUS CONVENTION extracts:

Article 7 extract:
“Each Party shall make appropriate practical and/or other provision for the public to participate during the preparation of plans and programmes relating to the environment, within a transparent and fair framework, having provided the necessary information to the public”.   

Article 8 extract:
“Each Party shall strive to promote effective public participation at an appropriate stage, and while options are still open, during the preparation by public authorities of executive regulations and other generally applicable legally binding rules that may have a significant effect on the environment.”


1.5         The consultation should be re-run

22    Given all of the above, the consultation should be re-run on a clear basis with consistent rationale for the Scheme.



2               Funding


23    Norwich City Council Leader and counterparts in South Norfolk and Broadland, and under the auspices of the Greater Norwich Development Partnership (GNDP) have committed to giving £40-60 million towards a three-quarter NDR costing at least £144 million.

24    If the road, following feasibility study, is extended across the Wensum valley via a hugely costly viaduct scheme this could add the order of another £100m at least.  We are sceptical of claims that this could be funded by ‘shadow tolling’.  Whilst such claims may be made to promote the public perception of the fiscal viability of embarking on such an extension, there is no evidence base that that a successful case could be made for shadow tolling.    

2.1         Infrastructure planning by the GNDP Councils is in a state of flux

25    Inspector Keith Holland’s, BA (HONS) DIPTP MRTPI ARICS, examination into the Draft Community Infrastructure Levy Charging Schedules for Broadland, Norwich and South Norfolk recommendation a substantial downwards revision of the CIL Levy rate.

26    New infrastructure funding plans are being developed due to CIL shortfall, but there is no clear information at this stage to guide priorities and inform stakeholders. 

27    Further uncertainty has been added by the September 19th announcement of the disbandment of the Grater Norwich Development Partnership and its replacement with a Greater Norwich Growth Board. 

2.2         Integrated transport schemes are being delayed

28    Analysis of the JCS Infrastructure Framework (JCSIF) and the GNDP Local Investment Plan and Programme (LIPP) [3] shows that Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) projects in the Norwich NE Quadrant which are a key part of the NATS proposals for promoting sustainable transport and reducing congestion in Norwich have already have delays or cost increases, these are:

·         A 5 – 10 year delay on the Airport BRT [T12]
·         A shorter delay on the Salhouse Road BRT [T11]
·         A shorter delay on the Broadland Business Park (BBP) – Salhouse Road development link [T15]

29    The existing delays and additional risks to these projects compromise the NATS proposals, and the deliverability and soundness of sustainable transport objectives of the JCS.

30    Further in recent years the County Council itself has, year-on-year, diverted funds away from Integrated Transport to other road costs.

31    It is simply not true that the NDR scheme will help these sustainable transport developments.  It will in fact, due to its huge costs, divert funds away, and Norwich will see the vision of a decent public transport system fade away.

2.3         Badly needed, community infrastructure projects are compromised across the Norwich Policy Area

32    The fiscal drain, upwards of £50m from the NDR, will leave insufficient money to pay for the £500m minimum needed in the wider Norwich area to provide infrastructure for water, sewage treatment, public transport, health centres, schools, community facilities and green spaces alongside new homes in JCS. 

33    These is also a rapidly escalating financial impact on other stakeholders such as the NHS.  For example, the cost of hospital bed provision across the JCS area has rocketed from £28m in the JCS to £72.6m in the LIPP over the entire JCS timescale.    

 

3               Climate Change


34    Our fundamental position on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions is that a transport scheme like the Norwich Northern Distributor Road scheme needs to be assessed against a national legislative and regulatory framework that includes the Climate Change Act 2008 and the National Planning Policy Framework (2011).  When this is done properly, the Scheme will not be deemed to be suitable for development due to the additional carbon footprint that it creates.

35    Appendix A gives a brief overview of the issue of climate change, the global situation, the science and as it relates to policy.

3.1         The role of the scheme in the national legislative framework on Climate Change

 

36    Any scheme may be a carbon generator or a carbon sink: that is, it adds to carbon emissions or reduces carbon emissions.  The difficulty is in establishing to what extent it does so, and this is the role of assessment.

37     Our position is:

“Any scheme that generates carbon emissions makes an incremental change to the overall UK Carbon Budget, and the levels of future global carbon emissions, accumulated in the atmosphere, in the wrong direction.  This is counter to the socio-economic responsibilities to reduce carbon that are inherent in current national and local policy, and may make it harder for the Country to deliver that policy. “

38    Any such scheme should be seen within a legislative hierarchy as shown below from the international, national Climate Change Act to scheme level:

International negotiations (UNFCCC etc)

 Legal requirement
National Carbon Budget
Legally binding targets set at this level in 5 year Carbon Budget periods
Sector
Transport
Energy Supply
Other sectors
Other sectors
Sector level
Responsibility
National Projection
National Projection


Responsibility
Regional contribution
Regional contribution


Responsibility
Local Authority contribution
Local Authority contribution


Responsibility
Scheme
(eg Road)
Scheme
(eg Gas Power station)



39    Whilst the national ‘legally binding’ target for carbon emissions only exists in legislation at the level of the national 5 year Climate Budgets, our position is that there are responsibilities at every other level down to the Scheme level.  

40    Challenging targets have been set for carbon reduction in the national five year Carbon budgets.  In the context of Climate Change Act carbon budgets for the first three 5 years periods up to 2023, the Carbon Plan makes a projection of 15% savings for the transport sector by 2020[4].

41    A logical conclusion is that at the emissions sectorial level, under-achievement in one sector would require over-achievement elsewhere (see diagram above): for example a 20 MtCO2e under achievement in decarbonisation of the national Energy Supply requires over achievement in other sectors, such as transport, of the same amount.

42    Further Local Authorities and their contribution to regional and national sectorial targets must be seen the same way: “All parties have to contribute”.  It is responsibility to “take the lead” is at the local authority level in line with the Government’s Localism agenda.  Any one local authority than under achieves requires an over achievement by another local authority elsewhere in their region or the country. 

43    This is not a prescriptive approach.  The maths simply does not add up otherwise. 

44    To make the maths add up, it is necessary for there to be “ownership of the carbon issue at the local level” (for example, by local authorities).  Such an evolving ownership, as evidenced already by some local authorities, is completely consistent with, and also a mature and responsible approach, to Localism. 

45    By building high-carbon infrastructure, specifically the NDR, Norfolk is not making its local and regional contribution to the national sectorial target of 15% reductions of transport emissions by 2020. This is a dereliction of the socio-economic responsibilities to reduce carbon emissions at the local and regional level.

3.2         The role of the planning system

46    There are very strong arguments on the basis of the urgency to deal with climate change that would preclude allowing schemes to be developed that are assessed as carbon generators.  We express this as follows:

“The planning system is charged with producing reductions in CO2 emissions (NPPF, para 94) in line with its contribution to meeting national Carbon Budgets as set out in the Climate Change Act 2008.  There is an associated singularity in socio-economic responsibility in relation to this: that is, that any singular decision process for scheme or project that increments carbon emissions should take account of a socio-economic responsibility to reduce carbon emissions under the NPPF and the Climate Change Act 2008”.

47    The Norwich Northern Distributor Road, as a local authority major transport scheme, has carbon emissions associated with it in the 5 figure tonnes per annum range [ie: 10,000 – 99,999 tCO2e/annum].  The ‘latest’ exact figure cannot clearly be determined from the promoter’s case: at one time, it was given as 25000 tonnes of carbon a year.  At this scale of emissions, a scheme is making significant contributions to the local and regional carbon footprint.  It clearly cannot demonstrate that it can save carbon emissions according to the transport sector projections under the Carbon Plan, and is counter to the NPPF and Climate Change Act.


4               Right to Add Statement


48    The Author and Norwich Green Party reserve the right to introduce any such additional documents as may be relevant to future Inquiries in respect of the Scheme.




Yours sincerely



Norfolk County Councillor and Norwich City Councillor Andrew Boswell
Of behalf of  Norwich Green Party
September 20th 2013


 

5               APPENDIX A:  Climate Change: The problem and current global situation


49    Climate change ranks very high indeed as a UK government policy issue embracing very strong policy commitments to reduce greenhouse gases (so-called “mitigation”) so that we can avoid the worst consequences of climate change.  The science of climate change is clear that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions (i.e. those generated by human activity) are contributing to increases in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHG)  including carbon dioxide (CO2) and that there is a powerful case for reducing these emissions. 

50    In a seminal 2008 paper NASA and Columbia University scientist Professor James Hansen[5] states that we have already exceeded the safe level of atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs) to prevent ice sheet disintegration and equilibrium sea level rise of at least several metres scientist.  
Humanity today, collectively, must face the uncomfortable fact that industrial civilization itself has become the principal driver of global climate. If we stay our present course, using fossil fuels to feed a growing appetite for energy-intensive life styles, we will soon leave the climate of the Holocene, the world of prior human history. The eventual response to doubling pre-industrial atmospheric CO2 likely would be a nearly ice-free planet, preceded by a period of chaotic change with continually changing shorelines.

51    An article by twenty nine of the world’s leading climate scientist published in the journal Nature in 2010[6] identified 9 “planetary boundaries” that should not be crossed if we are to avoid drastic consequences in terms of biodiversity, weather, food production and the continuation of liveability for our species on planet Earth.  The article concluded that the safe limit (i.e. the planetary boundary) for climate change was 350 parts per millions (ppm) of CO2 in the atmosphere:  this level was breached in the mid-1980s. 

52    Correcting this breach (“mitigation”) and returning to a safe planetary boundary for atmospheric gases requires nothing less than reducing GHG concentrations to 1985 levels (ie 350ppm CO2eq).  Note, this is different to reducing rates of emissions - a decreasing, but positive rate of carbon emissions rate still generates an overall increase in GHG concentration levels over time.  To reduce concentrations of CO2 to safe levels implies actually removing CO2 from the atmosphere (ie a negative rate of emissions). 

53    This is explained using the analogy of water in a bath where water trickles into the overflow at a depth of 12 inches (350ppm), or more, causing environmental damage.  We are now at 14 inches (nearly 400ppm) and water is not only pouring through the overflow but close to pouring over the side (‘catastropic climate change’).   As water is continually being added via the tap (the addition of about 2ppm of CO2 to the atmosphere each year), each year the bath level rises.  The challenge to reach 350 ppm is not only to reduce the tap flow (“reduce emissions”) but to remove water from the bath (“reduce overall concentrations of GHGs”) back to no more than the 12inch level.  

54    Global levels of CO2 have been measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii[7] since the 1950s.

    
55    Pre-industrial revolution levels of CO2 were around 270ppm.  The 300ppm threshold was crossed around 1950, and the 350ppm level was breached around 1986. 

56    The 400ppm level was reached, at globally averaged measurements, in May 2013[8], although localised levels of 400ppm were recorded over the Arctic in the summer of 2012[9].

57    The global average concentrations for May 2010, 2011 and 2012 were 392.95, 394.16, 396.78 ppm CO2[10].       

58    One of the global physical characteristics which indicates the effect of anthropogenic global warming is the melting of the Arctic polar ice cap.  On 27th August 2012, scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Centre announced that the extent of sea ice in the Arctic had reached its lowest level since satellite measurements began[11], breaking the previous record in 2007.  The graph below shows how this record was broken about 3 weeks before the usual minimum of summer ice (mid September)[12].


59    For a number of years, UK Government and international UN policy has had the objective at limiting global temperature rises to 2oC.

60    On 23rd August 2012, Prof Sir Bob Watson, in an interview with the BBC[13] said that efforts to stop a sharp rise in global temperatures were now "unrealistic". He said that the rise could be as high as 5oC - with dire consequences.  Sir Bob is among the most respected scientists in the world on climate change policy. He is currently chief scientist at the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and a former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

61    On the very current evidence, given above, we are not performing well on carbon reduction targets and tackling climate change.  There is no room for complacency.  In May 2013, the Independent newspaper reported that UK GHG emissions jumped by 3.9% in 2012 more than any other country in Europe[14].

62    This background has been given because it is crucially important to understand that projects like the NDR are building into the system permanent future increases in CO2 emissions, and associated increases to overall GHG concentrations.  These may be ‘small’ on the global level, but they are significant given the need for socio-economic responsibility at all levels under the UK Climate Change Act (as explained in main text).

63    With the global issue of carbon emissions, the issue of relative scale is not relevant. Any increase in emissions anywhere increases total emissions (the water level in the bath analogy). 

64    The consequences of failing to meet appropriate CO2 reduction targets are very serious indeed.  They include an increase in the frequency and severity of severe weather events, floods, disruption to transport systems, loss of agricultural productivity and large public and private financial losses in an era of fiscal restraint and in the context of reduced insurance cover. 




[1] Section 3.2.1.13, NDR Preliminary Environmental Information Report, June 2013

[2] These sites may be technically within or outside the Norwich Policy Area depending on different proposed routes for NDR extension.  
[5]  Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim?’, Hansen J., et al, April 2008,    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2008/TargetCO2_20080407.pdf  

[6]   A safe operating space for humanity, Sept 24th 2009, http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v461/n7263/full/461472a.html

[7]   Graph from “Trends in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide”, http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/ (accessed August 29th 2012)

[8]   Global carbon dioxide in atmosphere passes milestone level - Climate warming greenhouse gas reaches 400 parts per million for the first time in human history, Guardian, May 10th 2013, http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/may/10/carbon-dioxide-highest-level-greenhouse-gas  (accessed 13th May 2013)

[9]   Greenhouse gas levels pass symbolic 400ppm CO2 milestone, Guardian, June 1st 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jun/01/record-greenhouse-gas-trouble-scientists (accessed 29th August 2012)

[10]   Data from ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/trends/co2_mm_mlo.txt (accessed 29th August 2012)

[11]  “Arctic ice melts to record low levels”, Daily Telegraph, 28th August 2012, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/9502543/Arctic-ice-melts-to-record-low-levels.html, (accessed 29th August 2012)

 

[12]   Graph from “Arctic sea ice just hit a record low. Here’s why it matters.”, Washing Post, 28th August 2012,   http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/08/28/arctic-sea-ice-just-hit-a-record-low-heres-why-it-matters/  (accessed 29th August 2012)

[13]   “Science adviser warns climate target 'out the window'”, August 23rd 2012,  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19348194, and video of interview http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19359020 (accessed 29th August 2012)

 

30. 31. 32.