Essex County Council now a founder member of The Countryside Climate Network

Essex County Council today (Wednesday 24 June) became a founder member of a newly launched network to promote the voice of the countryside in climate change discussions.

The Countryside Climate Network aims to ensure the voice of rural knowledge and experience on climate action is listened to in Westminster, demanding rural councils are an active participant in transforming the national economy into one that saves, rather than harms, our environment.

The network brings a voice on climate change to the two-thirds of the country who live outside major towns and cities and it calls for investment to be targeted at rural areas.

As Chairman of the Essex Rural Partnership, and representative of a very rural division on Essex County Council, I’m very aware of the views of our countryside community and I can take these views forward into this new forum.

This is a step I’m pleased to take as it aligns with Essex County Council’s ongoing strategy to take action to protect and sustain the wonderful countryside we have been blessed with in our county.

Essex County Council has already taken steps to achieve this aim. We have convened the Essex Climate Action Commission, which right now is focussing on how to build on the environmental gains that have emerged as a result of the lockdown - how the public are engaging more with the natural world, walking and cycling more (greener forms of transport) and more people are working from home, including in jobs where this hadn’t been thought possible.

In Essex we also have our Essex Forest Initiative, again part of ECC’s commitment to tackling climate change and reducing carbon across the county by planting 375,000 trees over the next five years. This is a critical first step in delivering our Green Infrastructure Strategy which we published earlier this year. We are also implementing ways to help people actively travel to city and town centres, adding to the ongoing effort to keep the air clean.

I don’t believe in words, I believe in action, and action is what is needed to achieve lasting progress in the fight against climate change.

Our membership of this new network is another action we’ve taken, which lines up alongside all the other insightful and progressive initiatives we have already started. We are taking action to protect our environment for future generations of Essex residents.

Read more about the Essex Climate Action Commission.

Read more on the Green Infrastructure Strategy.