Plymouth City Council has teamed up with Malaga City Council in Spain in an exciting project to find ways of getting nature to fight the impact of climate change.
The two cities will be bidding for around €10 million – or £7.5 million – to help fund this important work, which if successful, could be replicated around the globe.
The European Union is looking for cities that can lead the way on ‘climate change resilience’ which means how well places are protected from the effects of climate change such as flooding or drought and how well they adapt to them.
Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning Councillor Mark Coker said: “I am really excited by this. We’re very proud of our city’s parks and green spaces and this will project has the potential to not only help us make them even better, but they could play a vital role in the challenges we all face now and in the future.
“For example, trees slow down rainwater flows during storms and help to reduce flooding. They also help air quality by trapping tiny carbon particles that cause respiratory disease. However the right type of tree needs to be planted in the right place to make this most effective. This has the potential to be an extremely important project for Plymouth and for Europe.”
Plymouth has around 35,000 trees lining its streets and roads and around half a million in its nature reserves and woodland. The Council is already involved in planting hundreds more new trees and orchards with help of residents and community and 12,000 are planned for the new country park at Derriford.
Plymouth and Malaga councils plan to partner with companies that have products and services that work with nature to find solutions to issues such as flooding. The project will also include an inventory of the city’s trees, carried out by community volunteers. This will lead to a long-term plan to manage and improve our ‘urban forest’.
The project is being led by the Council’s Natural Infrastructure Team and will involve improvements to city green space including Derriford Community Park.
Plymouth University will lead a long-term monitoring programme to provide evidence to the European Commission and to other cities about the effectiveness of nature-based solutions with support from Forest Research and the New Economics Foundation.
The funding will enable the cities to exchange ideas and network with experts from each of the countries. The project partnership also includes the coastal cities of Gdansk in Poland, La Spezia in Italy, Burgas in Bulgaria, and Qingdao in China. Plymouth will work with the companies Frog Environmental, GreenBlue Urban, and ECOncretetech.
One of the key conditions of the submissions is that there are partners working together, networking across national boundaries, sharing ideas, understanding and results. If the bid is successful the project will start in early 2017.