Introduction to North West Wales Area Statement
Due to its breadth and influence, stakeholders identified the climate and environment emergency as the most important and overarching theme for the North West Area Statement
These Area Statements summarise discussions from the last couple of years. We are continuing engagement on Area Statements and are adapting our plans for future events and workshops due to the coronavirus pandemic. Please use the feedback boxes on each Area Statement page to find out more.
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There are two key strands to addressing climate change:
Over the last century, temperatures have increased, sea levels have risen, and weather patterns have drastically changed. With these changes projected to continue and intensify over the coming decades, we must collaborate to tackle the impacts and prepare to mitigate for all climate change possibilities.
No matter what we do to manage Wales' natural resources, things are going to change and Natural Resources Wales needs to work with stakeholders and partners alike and prepare for the changes that will affect their resilience.
Locally, we need to work together to ensure that the other themes in the Area Statement help mitigate against the impacts from the climate and nature emergencies, particularly:
Regionally, and nationally, we need to ignore boundaries and work together to plan for and tackle future emergencies. Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has already started with our Area Statement neighbours in the North East Wales by working together to support the work that the Public Service Boards across North Wales are doing by adopting a regional approach to climate change mitigation.
Through a collaborative approach, we can better improve and enhance the region, making it more sustainable for our future generations. This also means ensuring the other themes in the North West Area Statement also put in measures to get prepared, improve infrastructure and build adaptive and resilient communities living and working in harmony with our natural environment, ensuring our society is fit for the future.
While collaborative working will reduce greenhouse gas emissions limiting future climate change, much of the damage is already done. This is especially pressing as the North West Wales region consists of 45.5 per cent of the total length of the Welsh coastline. Coastal communities like Fairbourne in South Gwynedd face the stark impacts of climate change.
Moreover, climate change also impacts North West Wales through severe drought, increased frequency of wild fires and stress our native wildlife and natural habitats. As such, it’s important for us to review current evidence on the impact of climate change on our natural resources and share knowledge and understanding of the severity of the situation with our communities.
To facilitate the development of the Area Statement, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) held 3 workshops in North West Wales during July 2019 including a session for staff. Based on these discussions, it is clear there is support amongst stakeholders that climate change is the prime theme among stakeholders. The developed themes were taken back to the stakeholders for validation at our second round of engagement workshops in November and December 2019. More information and detail on this can be found in the Introduction to the Area Statement and in the Ways of working theme.
The issues and opportunities sections reflect comments made during the engagement events. Natural Resources Wales noted that stakeholders questioned whether the North Wales Area Statement process, and all public services, were taking the climate and nature emergencies seriously enough. The comments below reflect the interest shown during the engagement to discuss and determine opportunities for tackling climate change impacts on the region.
We will expand on these opportunities, including locations and detail as we develop theme groups to take the next steps with this Area Statement. All of the opportunities identified below will only be supported at environmentally appropriate locations.
There is a need to tackle climate change for our future generations that will inherit a world shaped by our actions today.
We need to ensure that we give children a platform to speak up about their concerns.
Global greenhouse gas emissions are at levels unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that the world must reach global net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to avoid the consequences of warming above 1.5 degrees. Staying within these limits - which is still possible - will reduce risks to biodiversity, ecosystems, food systems, water and human well-being. When the report was published it led to a change in public perception of climate change. There is now an urgent need for a response across government and society.
The whole coast of the North West Wales Area Statement has been assessed by the Shoreline Management Plan. It has been developed by coastal groups to facilitate development of sustainable flood and coastal erosion risk management policies over the next 100 years, reducing the risks to people and the developed, historic and natural environments. The plan contains a range of policies for the coastline, which are ‘hold the line’, ‘no active intervention’ or ‘managed realignment’, per policy epoch. The policy epochs are up to 2025, 2026 to 2055 and 2056 to 2105.
On 14th May 2020 NRW plan to hold another stakeholder meeting to bring together everyone who has contributed to this process to-date to review the opportunities and agree collaborative next steps for the North West Area Statement process.
We will establish theme subgroups to develop the area wide vision for this theme – with a broad remit and wide representation. We will identify potential partners and interested individuals and groups, gaps in knowledge and linkages with local strategies and action plans.
We will use the information gathered during the stakeholder engagement events (external, internal, with partners such as the National Parks Authority) to guide the activities of these thematic subgroups.
Each thematic subgroup will need to review what information and data we have so far, plan who we talk to next, look for theories of change, identify barriers and how to overcome and explore opportunities for appropriate action. The Area Statement will be an iterative document that will change and evolve over time. The subgroups will be responsible for determining when plans need to change and who needs to be involved in that process (the governance of the area statement).
The suggestions that are taken forward as ‘Lily Pad’ projects are designed to build stakeholder trust and cohesion through working on defined interventions. They use this experience to ‘leap’ on to the next, maybe less certain step in the Area Statement process that has been mapped out by the theme subgroups and ‘learn through doing’ along the way. In this way, issues around stakeholder engagement and co-design and delivery might be better understood, and concerns addressed.
From this will be able to engage with and enthuse a broader group of stakeholders beyond the wider environmental sector in a targeted way and with a stronger focus on involving and engaging local groups and individuals. This could mean a variety of approaches, including: social media, traditional media, community meetings, drop-in sessions and the strengths of our partners so that we’re all working together to deliver the Area Statement vision and ambitions.
Working with the agriculture community to promote river corridor fencing and tree planting to help stabilise riverbanks will help reduce bank erosion and will contribute to natural flood risk management. Similarly, working with the agriculture sector on resilient farming practices, such as deeper rooting grass leys and other drought resistant solutions, will help the industry adapt to climate seasonal variations.
Managing pressures on water resources due to climate change through natural processes, for example increasing tree cover and fencing of riverbanks, will result in improved connectivity for species supporting habitat and wildlife resilience. Using nature-based solutions to tackle climate change, such as improving woodland cover and peatland restoration (ditch blocking to rewet peatland bog habitats), can lead to increased storage of carbon and water, contributing to natural flood risk management through the regulation of waterflow.
As such, encouraging local supply chains from farmland food production to fork, will contribute to a reduction in food miles and carbon emissions as a result. Moreover, improved greener transport networks and infrastructure will help reduce pollution, including noise pollution, and will positively contribute to improved air quality.
Offers the opportunities to work together to sustainably look int the greater use of natural assets for greener energy generations also contributes to reduction in the use of fossil fuels.
Working across sectors to define climate change adaptation and mitigation solutions suitable for North West Wales will help build sustainability and resilience. Working collaboratively with Public Service Board partners to research managing a regional approach to climate change will ensure a consistent and more effective approach.
We welcome opportunities for the public to engage with us at any stage of the Area Statement process. We plan to hold community drop-in sessions and workshops during 2020 to help us develop research, look into opportunities and talk to us about your community ideas and consider how they might be funded.
There is also a feedback form and an Email address: email@example.com should you wish to write to us with your ideas.