Zeroing in on net zero

30 May 23

Norse Group chief executive Justin Galliford warns that the work involved in achieving net zero has been underestimated

Justin Galliford

We are in a period of change and great difficulty: the cost-of-living crisis, austerity, new procurement rules and new waste regulations. Yet with so much adversity, it’s all too easy to overlook what might be our most important challenge: achieving net zero.

Talking to local government leaders I’m increasingly concerned that the country risks underestimating how much this ambitious aim entails.

To achieve net zero we must be realistic about timescales, the capital investment required and the resources needed.

However well-prepared local authorities are, much of net zero depends on central government action – infrastructure for EV charging, reliable green energy supplies to meet massively increased demand, and a regulatory framework giving local government the ability to implement greening of their buildings.

I believe that without significant government support and direction, we and our local authority partners will struggle to achieve our aims. 

At Norse, net zero is something we have been working on both in our own business and our local authority partnerships; and the more work we do, the more we understand how much is involved.

Norse Group has a specialist Environmental Consultancy, which includes net zero specialists. They, and our council partners, are in the process of developing a comprehensive strategy to enable us both to achieve net zero as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.

It is clear there are three main strands we need to work on:

Trading Activity

Replacing our fleet with alternative vehicles, making our buildings energy-efficient and reducing the carbon footprint of all of our services, including highways, waste and recycling, facilities management and care homes


Ensuring our energy comes from sustainable sources and encouraging our suppliers and subcontractors adopt a net zero strategy


Providing advice and guidance to our staff, their families and local communities, and helping our clients reduce their carbon footprint

Local councils will be vital to helping the government meet the nation’s net zero ambitions, but they will need substantial long-term support and further empowerment to do so.

  • Justin Galliford

    Chief executive of Norse Group. Wholly owned by Norfolk County Council, Norse’s turnover is over £350m. The company operates local authority partnerships across the UK, providing a wide range of services including waste and environmental, highways, FM, property consultancy and care homes.

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