Norwich City Council has sparked controversy by banning petrol and diesel engine floats from an annual parade for the first time.
Dance troupes, community group and local businesses participating in the city’s Lord Mayor’s Procession have this year been asked to replace their traditional slow lorry floats with more eco-friendly alternatives.
The council has made the decision in order to support the theme of this year’s parade: ‘Love the world around you’, which invites participants to celebrate the natural world.
The Lord Mayor’s Procession is a key part of the city’s annual Lord Mayor’s Celebration weekend which will take place this year between Friday 5 July and Sunday 7 July.
Cllr Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council, said: ‘I am looking forward to seeing lots of innovative and exciting entries breathing new life into this year’s procession, which is all about showcasing our talented and creative residents.
‘This year’s theme is about celebrating our wonderful world, as well as highlighting the small changes we can all make to look after it.’
‘We want to make sure all of our events, which are enjoyed by thousands of people in the city each year, are run as sustainably as possible, and this is an important step in this journey.’
The annual procession, which winds its way along a one-mile route through the heart of Norwich, attracts an average of 65 entries each year with around 14 of these usually using large lorries.
This year the council has asked participants to find environmentally sustainable ways of taking part using alternatives such as electric cycles, bicycles, roller-skates and pedal-powered floats.
Reaction to the decision has been largely been positive, with residents making their opinions known on the council’s Facebook page.
One resident called it ‘great news’, adding: ‘It will need some creative thinking but a fantastic opportunity for a fresh and exciting revamp for the procession.’
A second said the move will be ‘a great opportunity for encouraging conversations about the changes we need to make to protect our environment’.
However, others were more critical of the council’s decision, with some suggesting they would even boycott the parade.
‘Switching to electric is a positive step, but you really need to be focusing on multiple fronts, like electrifying the bus network and improving air quality in the city,’ a third resident said.
Norwich City Council has defended its decision to ban the lorries, saying that walking entries have led the procession for several years.
The council has offered applicants help and advice in planning their entries prior to the procession, which is set to take place on Saturday 6 July.
The UK’s Tesla owners group has also offered Norwich residents the use of 22 Tesla Model X cars especially for the procession free of charge.
Image credit: Andrew Hurley