Council's climate work praised in UK-wide report

time:2023-06-03 15:52:12 source:Al Jazeera

The community outreach work of Derry City and Strabane District Council has been praised in a report on climate action across the UK.

The council was the first in Northern Ireland to create a climate adaption plan and commit to net zero by 2045.

Now, its work has been highlighted by the charity CPD in its report Building Local Resilience.

Cities and companies use CDP to monitor environmental impact, with the findings helping to guide climate strategy.

The report, based on data from 60 UK local authorities including two in Northern Ireland, found heat and flooding were the top climate hazards.

Almost every local authority (98%) reported a climate hazard in their area, including extreme heat, flooding and heavy rainfall.

In Derry City and Strabane, "increasing summer heatwaves and flooding events, such as the August 2017 floods which affected more than 400 homes and businesses" are being experienced, the report said.

More flooding struck last summer, with six people needing to be rescued.

A number of adaptation measures have been identified by the council, including a community resilience officer who works with communities and local agencies to develop plans to tackle problems.

Cathy Burns, the council's climate programme manager, told CDP that Derry City and Strabane takes "a collaborative approach to adaption".

She said that working across departments to best utilise expertise, while engaging with the most vulnerable, was part of the process.

The CDP report found that in 92% of the 60 local authorities examined, low-income households were found to be among the groups most affected by climate hazards.

The other groups most affected were:

More than three quarters of local authorities (77%) reported health being affected by climate change, with heat-related illnesses, mental health impacts and injuries or deaths caused by extreme weather events being the most widespread consequences.

Almost all the councils involved in the report have an emissions target (98%) and mitigation plan (90%).

The number of local authorities that have an adaptation plan has increased to 77%, up from a third in 2018, and almost all are implementing adaptation actions such as flood defences and reforestation (97%).

Maia Kutner, CDP's global director of cities, states and regions, said the UK was "no longer immune" from the ravages of climate change.

"From the hottest year on record in 2022 to multiple floods, droughts and thousands of wildfires, the country is experiencing just how severe climate change really is - and, unfortunately, its knock-on impact on health and vulnerable communities."

She said many councils were adapting to climate change "with commitment and agility" and that "with their closeness to communities on the ground and ability to deliver tangible impact, local authorities are vital champions for climate action".

Derry City and Strabane District Council is one of two councils in Northern Ireland which report their climate data to CDP.

Belfast City Council was awarded an A rating for its efforts to tackle climate change by the organisation last year.

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