Five year plan to improve environment
A five year plan has been drawn up by the Environment Agency to help shape a better future.
Agency chief executive Sir James Bevan said returning to business as usual after the Coronavirus pandemic will not be enough to address the challenges of the future.
Its plan, EA2025, calls for a new approach which promotes health, equity and environmental enhancement and says that the Coronavirus pandemic presents an opportunity to reshape a better future, including tackling climate change.
By 2025 the Environment Agency aims to have created more climate resilient places and infrastructure as well as a renewed focus on improving the health of air, land and water for people and nature.
Sir Bevan said: “Tackling the climate emergency must become a default position for everyone.
"We know that life post-lockdown presents a unique opportunity to change the way we live and work for the better.
“We have been gifted a glimpse of how we could adapt our lives and think differently about how we operate.
"People are ready to think differently, and with our new 5 year plan we want to make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime chance to lead the way.”
In the North East, work has continued throughout lockdown on a environmental projects including the River Aln Fish Pass project – which aims to complete replacement of three fish and eel passes; fisheries enforcement officers seized four illegal fishing nets in Northumberland and Teesside; joined forces with Northumbrian Water in June to make additional releases from Kielder reservoir to support salmon migration; protecting the native white-clawed crayfish through the Northumberland Crayfish Conservation Steering Group.
The Environment Agency – through work with the Northumbria Regional Flood and Coastal Committee – is investing £132million to protect more than 7,000 North East homes in its current six-year programme of work to 2021.
Catherine Saxon, the Environment Agency’s Area Director in the North East, said: “We’re really proud to live and work in the North East, with its historic industry, stunning coastline, spectacular countryside and rivers abundant with fish and other wildlife.
"It’s something we want to protect and enhance now and for future generations.
“Climate change is something already affecting people’s lives and we need to prepare now for a different future.
"We expect to see more weather extremes such as flooding and long periods of dry weather and the impact on people’s lives and livelihoods, wildlife and the habitat it depends on, will be huge.
"That’s why we are moving forward in a different way, together with our communities, to shape a better future.
“We already have a wide range of projects from river restoration to natural flood management and regulating industry taking place in communities right across the area and our frontline staff are out there tackling the effects of the hot and dry spring, pollution incidents and ensuring flood defences are maintained.”