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£250,000 ‘Fighting Fund’ to tackle climate emergency proposed

A £250,000 fund to tackle the Climate Emergency has this week been proposed in Wirral.

The 'Fighting Fund', outlined in the Council’s proposed budget for 2020/21, will take action to stop damaging pollution and make the borough more resilient to the impacts of Climate Change.

The proposals come just months after Wirral Council declared a Climate Emergency in Summer 2019.

Cllr Liz Grey, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, said: “I am delighted to announce our proposal to dedicate an initial funding pot of £250,000 as part of a working ‘Fighting Fund’ towards tackling the climate emergency.

“If approved, this funding could see Wirral’s resilience in the face of climate breakdown dramatically improved and massively strengthened.

“With the help of the Cool Wirral Partnership, we know many of the things we need to do. However, the latest scientific evidence makes it clear we need to do more of it – and fast.

“I also want to be clear on the fact that this funding is just the start of things to come.”

“Wirral has countless concerned residents, organisations and groups who are devoted to addressing the climate emergency. We need to convert this energy into action. This funding will allow us to do that.”

Last year, the Climate Emergency declaration, led by Cllr Liz Grey, achieved cross-party support after being unanimously agreed at a special council meeting.

The ‘Fighting Fund’, kicking off with a cash injection of £250,000, will seek to focus on several issues. 

The budget proposal could be used to:

  • Establish the Borough’s tree strategy in early Spring – this will include commencing a major Wirral-wide tree planting initiative.
  • Invest in internal staffing opportunities for Active Travel to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), tackle local pollution and improve health and wellbeing. 
  • Upgrade the Borough’s longstanding Eco Schools programme to ‘Cool Schools’, reemphasising its focus on the climate emergency at both a local and global level.
  • Develop the Council’s thousands-strong workforce to better understand the impacts of carbon via ‘Carbon Literacy’ eco-training.

Cllr Janette Williamson, Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources said: “Tackling the global climate emergency is a lesson in keeping your eye on the horizon. It’s not just about the here and now, but about planning for the future.

“The Fighting Fund marks out the next stage of our strategy to address the climate emergency, as part of the wider efforts the Council is taking.

“For example, the Keep It Local campaign which focuses on using local traders is not just about keeping wealth in Wirral but also being mindful to ensure we minimise our carbon footprint as a borough.

“I am proud of the landmark policy shifts and strategy changes that Wirral is proposing, with thanks to our many devoted residents, groups and climate activists. 

“Not only will they benefit our borough in the next few years, but they will ensure the longevity of Wirral’s areas of natural and outstanding beauty.”

The fund will be considered at Budget Cabinet on 17th February and, if approved, it will be ratified at Full Council in March this year.

To stay updated with Wirral’s latest Climate Emergency news, click here.