26 Jul New fund offers £20,000 grants for projects tackling climate change
Essex County Council is offering grants of up to £20,000 to support voluntary and community projects tackling climate change in the county.
The £500,000 Climate Action Fund, which is available until March 2023, was announced at the Essex Climate Action Commission’s report launch event on 20 July. The fund has been created to support the Commission’s ‘Net Zero: Making Essex Carbon Neutral’ report, which makes recommendations on how all organisations, businesses, local communities and residents can work together to make Essex net zero by 2050.
Speaking about the fund, Cllr Peter Schwier, Climate Czar at Essex County Council said: “We are all working to tackle the climate challenge here in Essex. I hope this ambitious fund can inspire people across Essex to act and do their bit with friends and family. It’s a great opportunity for more communities to get involved.”
A heartwarming video from Danbury Park Primary School kicked off the event, with the young pupils discussing their concerns about climate change and bright ideas to help prevent its adverse effects. Intelligent and fervent words from the Co-Chair of the Commission, Prajwal, helped the voice of the next generation hit home as he handed over the report to the people of Essex and appealed for help in changing the county’s future. Further encouragement was drawn from a showcase of all the impactful projects already happening across Essex, from flood management schemes to solar panel installation, cycle hire schemes and retrofitting homes with sustainable heating systems.
Alongside showcasing these ongoing inspiring actions, during the event the Essex Climate Action Commission revealed its recommendations on how Essex can transform itself into a net zero county as quickly as possible. These included recommendations for best practice across six core themes: land use and green infrastructure, the built environment, waste, energy, transport, and community engagement.
An interactive audience poll at the event highlighted the steps that residents are prepared to take to tackle climate change. 25% of delegates said they would prefer to use greener forms of transport, such as cycling, walking or getting the bus, while 24% are looking into switching to renewable energy at home. A final poll revealed that 91% of delegates were likely or very likely to take action to tackle climate change after the event.
The Essex Climate Action Commission is an independent, voluntary, and cross-party body, made up of over 30 commissioners from the public and private and third sectors, to promote and guide climate action in the county. The online event marked the end of the Commission’s first year considering how best to achieve net zero in Essex.
Lord Randall of Uxbridge, Chair of the Essex Climate Action Commission, said: “The Commission’s 30 plus members include an array of experts and people who are really expert and experienced in their field. This includes not just academia, but those in the public sector, business leaders, people who really have a grounding in what the practical issues are when it comes to climate change.”
The Commission’s second year will focus on green growth and green finance, establishing how the county can benefit from the many opportunities that changing to a low carbon economy will bring.
Speaking about the Essex Climate Action Commission’s recommendations, Cllr Kevin Bentley, Leader of Essex County Council, said: “Climate change is the biggest issue we are facing both globally and in Essex, because it’s not just about us, it’s about the generations to come. Essex County Council is proud to be on the forefront of combating this alongside the Commission, and we look forward to working together with everybody who lives and works in Essex to help make net zero a reality.
What’s more, I’m delighted to launch the new Climate Action Challenge Fund to support inspiring environmental initiatives in the region. The future truly is bright for a greener Essex.”
To rewatch the Essex Climate Action Commission event and view the Net Zero: Making Essex Carbon Neutral report, visit www.essexclimate.org.uk.