Warwickshire council chiefs announce climate change action plan - The Leamington Observer

Warwickshire council chiefs announce climate change action plan

GREEN-thinking council chiefs have announced their action plan for tackling climate change in Warwickshire.

The impacts of human-driven climate change are now impossible to ignore, say Warwickshire County Council, with incidences of extreme natural phenomena increasing each year.

Over the last five years, there have been reports of huge floods in India and Bangladesh which displaced millions of people, and raging fires in Spain that destroyed a record 758,613 acres of land.

Warwickshire is also vulnerable to the effects of the planet’s changing climate, in two particular areas – flooding and extreme heat.

In the summer of 2007, after four times the July average of rainfall, the county’s roads, bridges and properties were flooded, causing widespread disruption and damage to towns including Shipston, Wellesbourne, Henley, Alcester, Bidford and Leamington.

Extreme heat is also becoming more common. In July 2022, Warwickshire recorded high temperatures of 39°C, exceeding the previous record by 0.3°C. As well as damage to crops and agricultural assets, the impact of such a heatwave includes health issues and mortality, higher than average water demand, disruptions to rail transport, deterioration of road surfaces, and subsidence.

Despite these threats, Warwickshire is now better prepared to respond. In 2022, WCC commissioned work to fully understand the risks to various sectors in the county and to understand the vulnerability of its own delivery of essential services.

A series of action plans have been developed that will be taken forward with key strategic partners both within and bordering Warwickshire.

Key actions include a tree planting programme with the aim of planting one tree for every resident in the county.

With the expectation of increased incidence of flash flooding and wildfires, Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service is preparing for worst case events by reviewing and updating risk registers and actions plans and ensuring climate change is built into tactical response training.

There will be information campaigns around relevant risks for example those associated with open water swimming and what to do in case of emergencies.

WCC will also be increasing its ability to proactively alert residents of extreme events, part of which will be through closer links with organisations like the Met Office.

The council will also be liaising with local landowners about maintaining water reservoirs to store water and investing in vehicles and technology better suited to tackling extreme weather events.

WCC’s climate spokeswoman Coun Heather Timms said: “At Warwickshire County Council, we are committed to doing everything that we can to face the challenges of climate change and forge a Warwickshire that is sustainable now and for future generations.

“We are undertaking extensive work to ensure that we reduce our own CO2 emissions, while creating plans and policies to ensure we can deliver responsible stewardship of Warwickshire’s built and natural world. In many aspects of our climate change mitigation work – such as our £1million Green Shoots Community Climate Change Fund – we are going far further than many local authorities in the UK.”

For more information visit https://www.warwickshireclimateemergency.org.uk/


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