South West Water contributes to regional climate change adaptation strategy

South West Water has contributed to a regional strategy to help the South West adapt and prepare for the worst effects of climate change.

The Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly (DCIoS) Climate Adaptation Strategy was published at the end of last year. It has been developed by the DCIoS Climate Impacts Group – a partnership of strategic organisations, including local authorities, that is chaired by the Environment Agency – with the assistance of RSK, an engineering and environmental consultancy.

South West Water played a key role in the development of the strategy and will play a major role over the coming years to both mitigate the impacts of climate change and adapt for the future effects on the region.

The strategy’s publication comes after a consultation earlier this year in which 76% of respondents expressed concern about climate change and 69% said they have felt the effects of climate change already.

To respond effectively to the climate crises, it is vital that strategies are put in place to deal with both the cause of rising greenhouse gases and their effect on our communities, also called mitigation and adaptation respectively.

The Strategy sets out risks to the region from climate impacts, the conditions for everyone to act on adapting to climate change together, and priority actions for regional collaboration over the next five years.

South West Water is prioritising both climate mitigation and adaptation measures as part of the total £2.8 billion the company is investing in the region from 2025 – 2030.

The company has committed to achieving Net Zero by 2030, investing in climate-independent water sources, and strengthening its environmental efforts.

South West Water will also be recycling more waste and generating enough energy to power 20,000 homes, along with expanding its award-winning Upstream Thinking catchment management programme to deliver improvements to 146,500 hectares of land by 2030.

Carolyn Cadman, Director of Natural Resources at South West Water, said:

“As one of the largest businesses in the region with a responsibility for managing water – a vital natural resource – we welcome the launch of the strategy especially given the pressures that climate change will bring for the South West.

“Everyone at South West Water is passionate about playing our part to mitigate climate change and the impacts it will have on our natural environment. That’s why we are investing significantly in water resilience measures and bringing down our own carbon footprint. We are also working to reverse carbon emissions through tree planting and our leadership of the South West Peatland Partnership.”

Mark Rice, Area Director for Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, Environment Agency said:

“We’d like to thank everyone who responded to the consultation. It is clear that communities in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are already living with increased risks due to a changing climate and are concerned about this. Therefore, it is key that a coordinated approach is taken by regional bodies tasked with managing the risk posed by climate change and responding to hazards. The Action Plan in the Strategy sets out what needs to be done over the next five years.”

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