“The ecological emergency is intrinsically linked to the climate emergency. To effectively address the challenges presented by these twin emergencies, we need think differently. We must approach the solutions creatively and collaboratively. Nature should be seen as an enabler, an asset, a solution.
Biodiversity therefore is an underpinning theme. Nature’s recovery and natural solutions to the climate crisis should also form part of the other elements of Climate Leadership Gloucestershire’s (CLG) workstreams.
Gloucestershire has some important natural assets, but they are under threat. Yet the focus is not only on protecting what remains, but on reversing declines in nature and creating more space for nature. Gloucestershire’s natural environment partners have a strong track record of working together – and have also pioneered some nationally important natural solutions to climate change. This reputation for innovation needs to be celebrated and natural solutions need to be scaled and normalised.”
So begins the paper presented by the Chair, Vice Chair and Partnership Manager of the GLNP to the new Climate Leadership Gloucestershire* group at its February meeting. This paper was requested by the group as the opening gambit for the development of a shared workplan of strategic climate actions that could be taken collectively by members. The paper was developed following an open meeting and workshop of GLNP partners, conducted via Zoom with facilitated breakout groups and interactive Miro board.
The paper, which can be found in full above, includes twelve recommendations across four themes – green infrastructure, space for people and nature, carbon and water. These themes were disseminated from the Miro board, which included over 120 suggestions and action points from partners in the meeting. Distilling this to twelve was no mean feat, and thanks are due to the four topic specialists, Jon Burke, Chris Uttley, Jackie Jobes and Meyrick Brentnall for their support in this.
The paper was exceptionally well received at the February meeting of Climate Leadership Gloucestershire, with the Countywide Climate Coordinator Julian Atkins stating he wishes it to be seen as a foundational framework for all other topic leads to follow and aspire to. The paper was pulled together with huge thanks due especially to the vice chair of the Local Nature Partnership.
The CLG meeting was also a rare opportunity to engage strategic leaders on the other significant areas of work of the LNP, such as the Gloucestershire Nature and Climate Fund and the Local Nature Recovery Strategy. Furthermore, it enabled us to shine a light on the changed policy landscape, with the agriculture act and environment act having significant but perhaps under appreciated impacts of the local authorities and other Leadership Gloucestershire partners.
Throughout our engagement with the group, we have been clear to point out that Biodiversity is a cross-cutting theme. It will form part of discussions and solutions across the rest of the CLG’s workstreams, especially Adaptation, Planning and Food and Farming themes.
We look forward to continuing to work closely with our Climate Leadership Gloucestershire colleagues to develop these recommendations into deliverable strategic actions that can help meet some of the challenges presented by the climate and ecological emergencies.
* Leadership Gloucestershire (LG) brings together public sector organisations which allocate and spend significant resources in Gloucestershire. Its role is to provide vision, leadership and strategic direction in those areas where it is vital for organisations to work together to meet the needs of the people and communities of Gloucestershire in the most cost-effective way. In 2020 LG agreed to recruit and fund a County-wide Climate Coordinator, and this coordinator has since established, at LG’s request, the Climate Leadership Gloucestershire group. They have agreed:
1. To develop and own a countywide action plan to tackle the most strategic and cross cutting climate change issues for Gloucestershire.
2. To integrate climate considerations into the plans and strategies developed by partners.
3. To provide a collective voice and leadership on action needed at a national level to support local delivery on climate action.
4. To present visible leadership on climate action for the county, raising awareness and promoting action by residents and organisations in Gloucestershire.
The group consists of elected members holding environment portfolio at all 7 councils, and their Chief Execs or Environment Directors, NHS, Police and Gfirst LEP and GLNP