North Norfolk has an outstanding natural rural and coastal environment, which makes the District a fantastic place to live, work and visit – our natural environment underpins our appeal as a popular holiday destination. The northern reaches of the Norfolk Broads network lie within the District and approximately 20% of the District forms part of the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The district also has 80 Conservation Areas which recognise the strong character of the local built environment, as well as six Blue Flag beaches and three Green Flag parks and open spaces.
However, the District is at the frontline of climate change with its 45 miles of coastline under threat from storm surge inundation, cliff slippage and erosion, and loss of beaches: all associated with rising sea levels and more frequent extreme weather events, and all requiring us to the changes these bring.
In the medium-term there is concern over the future quality of the Broads landscape and environment through rising sea levels and falling ground-water levels, the latter of which also has an impact on the District’s economy as agricultural water abstraction licences are under review in the east of the District potentially requiring significant changes in agricultural practice.
For these reasons the Council declared a Climate Emergency in April 2019 and has since committed resources to establish an Environmental Forum with the objective of informing the development and implementation of an Environmental Charter. In turn this will lay out how we will lead community adaptation and reduce the Council’s impact on the environment.
The Council is seeking to respond to these challenges positively, leading by example, such as its leadership in the development and delivery of the UK first Bacton and Walcott Coastal Management “Sandscaping” scheme and through installing photovoltaic panels on the roof of the Council’s main office building delivering ongoing financial savings and reducing the authority’s carbon footprint.
Recognising our Position as a “Frontline” Authority in Meeting the Challenge of Rising Sea Levels