Climate change protesters from Extinction Rebellion, including Dr Devulapalli, second right, at a demonstration in King’s Lynn in May. Picture: Ian Burt

Environmental protesters have called for the reinstatement of disused railway lines linking King’s Lynn and other towns as part of a drive to tackle climate change.

Members of Extinction Rebellion want to see a greater emphasis on boosting public transport in the borough, citing government figures which reveal West Norfolk had the third highest increase in greenhouse gas emissions in the country between 2005 an 2013.

The group’s spokesman, Dr Pallavi Devulapalli, raised the issue at a West Norfolk Council meeting last Thursday and said: “In view of the climate and ecological emergency we find ourselves in, I hope the council agrees it is imperative we reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport in West Norfolk.

“This is an appalling state of affairs and it arises because residents in West Norfolk have no alternative to the road when it comes to travelling.  

“This amount of road travel is taking its toll in citizen’s health, wellbeing and productivity.

“The most common complaint for people in West Norfolk today is that of traffic congestion, with a huge amount of time lost to traffic jams.

“The only logical solution to this is to reinstate the train lines between King’s Lynn and Norwich, King’s Lynn and Peterborough, and King’s Lynn and Hunstanton.”

Ian Devereux, cabinet member for the environment, said the council has put in measures to tackle emissions and reduce them.

He said latest figures and air quality reports for 2018 and 2019 showed emissions were dropping in both the town centre and at Gaywood clock.

“All of these results demonstrate that we have acted on the evidence before us to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and atmospheric pollution,” he said.

Regarding calls for the reinstatement of railway lines, Mr Devereux said population volumes travelling on the borough’s roads were “barely sufficient to support a viable bus network, let alone justify the large capital investment required for an array of new permanent-way solutions”.

He said demand was for train services from Lynn to Cambridge and the council was working to promote this, although he added it is a national-led project and the council had limited influence.

The council is also encouraging people to walk or cycle using greenways and off-road routes.

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