The Essex Climate Focus Area
The Essex Climate Focus Area (CFA) is a ground-breaking initiative led by Essex County Council to improve the county’s resilience to climate change. In this blog, John Meehan Head of Climate Adaptation & Mitigation at Essex County Council, shares the ambitions of the project and how Ground Control is collaborating to help transform the vision into action.
The CFA aims to enhance biodiversity, improve carbon capture and strengthen natural habitats by 2030.
Covering almost one-third of the county, the Climate Focus Area spans across the districts of Maldon, Colchester, Tendring, Braintree and Uttlesford. The primary focus of the project is ‘green infrastructure’ and exploring innovative ways to transform land use, creating better natural ecosystems for people, plants and animals while addressing some of the climate issues we face.
Collaboration is at the heart of the Climate Focus Area’s success. Local authorities, parish councils, landowners, businesses, communities and government agencies are joining together to transform the CFA’s vision into action. Current Essex County Council initiatives in the project include:
- Joint funding for the North Essex Farm Cluster to support sustainable farming and the creation of nature-rich landscapes
- Securing funding for the Essex Net Zero Innovations Futures (EZIF), a partnership with landowners covering 1,500 acres, including Ground Control’s Wildfell Centre for Environmental Recovery
- Collaborating with Ground Control to develop a business case for marketing Wildfell’s green infrastructure, promoting Biodiversity Net Gain, Carbon and Water Company credits
- Funding the Big Green Internet to plant miles upon miles of hedgerows in Tendring
- Working in partnership with public participation charity Involve, supporting councillors in Stisted, Tiptree and Wivenhoe to develop Local Nature Plans with their residents
- Providing financial support for ‘agroforestry’ at Spains Hall estate, a sustainable land stewardship practice whereby tree planting is combined with agriculture on the same piece of land
- Developing a comprehensive communications plan to drive awareness for the CFA and highlight its learnings and successes
Creating a Climate Focus Area is allowing Essex County Council and partners such as Ground Control to accelerate pilot projects to test and learn how better habitats and climate change resilience can be achieved through local partnerships. In time, Essex County Council will roll out the learnings and successes of the project to the wider county and share learnings beyond borders to support the UK’s drive toward net zero.