Next Local Election in Thetford

Days
Hours
Minutes

Fears over impact of ‘investment zone’ on Norfolk’s landscapes

A senior councillor has played down fears that the creation of one of the government’s flagship ‘investment zones’ in Norfolk will damage the county’s precious natural environments.
Thetford Aerial Picture

A senior councillor has played down fears that the creation of one of the government’s flagship ‘investment zones’ in Norfolk will damage the county’s precious natural environments.

Paul Claussen, Tory deputy leader on Breckland Council, told the authority’s Labour opposition leader Terry Jermy that there was little reason to fear the zone’s impact on Norfolk’s habitats.

The zones – which were a key policy pledge made by Liz Truss during her bid to become prime minister – are set to be placed in up to 38 places across the country, and will be designed to spur economic growth. 

Businesses at the heart of each zone will enjoy lower taxes and lighter regulation, with planning laws also set to be relaxed on the outer edge of the zones, to encourage house-building.

It was revealed last month that Norfolk is among the places invited to create one, and there has been speculation that the chosen location could be a swathe of land in the so-called Cambridge-Norwich Tech Corridor, encompassing towns like Wymondham, Attleborough and Thetford. 

But fears have mounted in recent weeks from environmental organisations concerned about whether protections to local habitats will be watered down in the areas chosen.

The RSPB, which has a million members, has labelled the idea an “unprecedented attack on nature” that could “silence the dawn chorus”.

And at a Breckland Council meeting on Thursday, October 6, those fears were mentioned by Mr Jermy.

“One of the proposals is to ‘minimise the burden of environmental assessments’,” he said, referring to separate government plans to speed up the delivery of infrastructure. 

He asked Mr Claussen: “Could you confirm which assessments the government deems unnecessary and are the likes of the BTO [British Trust for Ornithology, based in Thetford] and RSPB right to be concerned about the government’s approach to the environment?” 

Mr Claussen said the specifics of how the zones will work had not yet been released, but that from his time at the Tory party conference, he could give his assurance that protecting the environment was “absolutely in the front and centre” of his party’s policies in government.

He said: “The number of stands that were dedicated to the environment, and going forward from different fuels, different ways of doing things, it was quite amazing.

“Certainly the amount of fringe events that were dedicated to environmental issues, I don’t think you’ve got [any reason to have] fears.”

Share:

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

Send us A Message

More news articles across our website

Norfolk County Council rethink call on £52m cuts and savings
Terry Jermy
Council leaders are coming under renewed pressure to drop proposed cuts which would hit people with disabilities - after the government handed County Hall £9.5m of extra cash.
Thetford Town Council provides £25,000 for groups and charities
Terry Jermy
Community groups and charities in Thetford have been invited to apply for a share of £25,000 worth of funding made available by Thetford Town Council.
Cashless society drive 'damaging for rural Norfolk'
Terry Jermy
Rural communities across Norfolk are suffering from the rapid decline in the use of cash, councillors have warned.
Norfolk recycling centre closure plans blasted by critics
Terry Jermy
Controversial proposals to shut all of Norfolk's recycling centres once a week - and to force people to book appointments to dump rubbish - will increase fly-tipping, critics have warned.

Are you a registered voter? You can now apply for a postal vote in just two minutes