Climate change adaptation project scoops prestigious European RegioStars Award 2012
Published by Fiona Mannion for TCPA in Environment and also in Communities, Education, Local Government
Partners of the TCPA (Town and Country Planning Association) led European project, GRaBS (Green and Blue Spaces in Urban Areas and Eco-towns) are celebrating winning a coveted RegioStars Award at this year’s ceremony in Brussels, 14th June. The Awards, organised by the European Commission, recognise best practice in regional development and highlight original and innovative projects which can inspire other communities across Europe. With today’s very high levels of greenhouse gases, urban areas are particularly vulnerable to the effects of rising temperatures and increased flooding. The GRaBS project sets out to provide the tools and knowledge to ensure that urban development across Europe, both existing and new, is suitably adapted to the impacts of climate change.
Diane Smith, TCPA European Affairs Manager, said:
“We are delighted to have won a RegioStars Award. With fourteen partners from across Europe, representing a wide range of climate change scenarios, the GRaBS project has sought to promote and develop the tools and knowledge to ensure our villages, towns and cities are resilient to the impacts of extreme weather. Winning this award is testimony to the hard work put in by all the partners and we hope it will also raise awareness across Europe of the kind of positive responses that exist to secure the long term well being of our communities.”
GRaBS is an INTERREG IVC project of 14 partners from eight EU Member States. The impact of winning the RegioStars Award for green infrastructure investment for sustainable regional development will enable not only GRaBS partners, but local authorities throughout Europe, to develop and implement planning policies that recognise the crucial role of green and blue infrastructure in climate change adaptation.
GRaBS is an INTERREG IVC project which brings together 14 partners from eight EU Member States. The impact of winning the EU RegioStars Award for green infrastructure investment for sustainable regional development will enable not only the 14 GRaBS partners, but local authorities throughout Europe, to develop and implement planning policies that recognise the crucial role of green and blue infrastructure in climate change adaptation to help sustain the quality of life, and social and environmental justice for the 68 % of the EU population who live in urban areas.
Kate Henderson, TCPA Chief Executive said:
“Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of today. Adapting to the impacts of climate change is not just about securing the wellbeing of our natural environment, but also the social and economic future of our world. It is therefore fantastic news that the GRaBS project, which has increased awareness of adaptation responses and understanding of climate change impacts, has won this important award.”
Councillor Richard Williams, Leader of Southampton City Council, said:
“Southampton City Council has long recognised the value of green spaces and the risk that climate change poses to the prosperity of the city. The GRaBS project provided us with an invaluable opportunity to learn from our partners and to share our experience as to how we manage our green spaces and other environmental features that help reduce the impact of climate change.
“The key project which came out of this was our Low Carbon City Strategy which was developed with members of the business community and is being undertaken jointly with an expanded partnership. The strategy also provides us with a way of engaging with local communities – to help them in identify ways of adapting their local neighbourhoods to deal with the effects of climate change.”
Dr Jeremy Carter, The University of Manchester, provided academic leadership for the project, said:
“There is a pressing need for cities to adapt to climate change and we are delighted this award recognises this issue. If we protect and enhance green and blue space and encourage sustainable urban development then a more viable future for our cities can be achieved. The differences between those cities which choose to adapt and those which do not will be stark. Greening the city is not just about coping with climate change but also stimulates health, social and economic benefits too."
The GRaBS project has received this award under the ‘sustainable growth’ category, which focuses on investments in ecosystem services and green infrastructure leading to sustainable regional development.