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Plan for adapting to climate change in Stafford is a first in region 

A plan to tackle the future risks of climate change in Stafford is the first of its kind in the region. 

Stafford Borough Council’s ‘Climate Change Adaptation Strategy’ was launched this week and looks at measures to deal with the local effects of climatic changes. It followed a consultation last year with residents and businesses across the borough able to give their views on the plan. 

The council was recently placed first for its work in adapting to climate change by Sustainability West Midlands – as part of their 2022 ‘Local Authority Benchmarking Report’.  

The report is used to identify best practice in local authorities in the West Midlands region across a range of environmental related themes such as sustainable energy use, resource efficiency, social equity and health, and adapting to climate change – with Stafford Borough Council ranked number three overall – a jump of six places from the 2021 results. 

The region is already experiencing more extreme weather events with hotter drier summers and warmer wetter winters. These trends are expected to continue and the strategy sets out how the local authority will try and ensure the borough is equipped to deal with the expected impacts of climate change.  

Work already taking place includes the £4 million Stafford Brooks project in partnership with Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, National Highways and the Environment Agency, to enhance rivers and green spaces across the town to reduce flooding and provide shading for residents and wildlife.  

Other adaptation schemes have seen the council work with local people to change the mowing regimes on some green spaces, tree planting on Local Nature Reserves, and support their recycling and waste contractor, Veolia, with a national initiative to provide fruit trees to schools in the borough.

Alan Carr, Senior Sustainability Adviser and climate change adaptation lead at SWM says:

“This is a fantastic example of a local area climate change adaptation plan and the Borough Council should be applauded for publishing a clear, honest and well informed document. As a resident of Stafford and having worked with the Borough Council on climate adaptation activity over ten years ago, it’s great to see this plan finally come to fruition. It has also used the West Midlands Climate Change Adaptation Plan, that SWM published in 2021 in partnership with the Environment Agency, as a framework for delivery, which is exactly what we were hoping for when we published the plan.”

Councillor Jonathan Price, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, thanked those who had taken part in the consultation. 

“It is excellent that the latest benchmarking places us as one of the leaders in the region when it comes to our work aimed at helping ensure we have a sustainable future for our community. 

“One of the highlights from the results of this independent report is that we are number one in the West Midlands for our climate change adaptation plans. In fact, we are the first to have produced a strategy that considers the effects of a changing climate and measures that are needed to make sure the council and partners are better prepared to deal with the impact.” 

He continued:

“In several areas we are ahead of many authorities in the work we are doing around climate change and adaptation – but there will be no let up on that work. We made climate change one of our top priorities and these benchmarking results are external recognition of our commitment to it.” 

Other issues highlighted in the strategy include ensuring everyone has access to adequate water supply particularly during heatwaves and droughts, and the role of green spaces in adapting to climate change. 

You can see the ‘Climate Change Adaptation Strategy’ from Climate Adaptation | Stafford Borough Council (staffordbc.gov.uk) 

Councillor Price added:

“We are heading in the right direction to being a ‘zero carbon’ authority but we know we are a small cog in a global wheel and locally we need our community, businesses and organisations to do their bit to contribute to this agenda.” 

You can read more about the council’s climate change work from Climate Change and Green Recovery  | Stafford Borough Council (staffordbc.gov.uk) 

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