Sharing knowledge as new initiative is launched in the Fens
A collaboration between Anglian Water, Water Resources East, the Environment Agency, and many regional partners has been launched to bring renewed prosperity to the Fens through a new approach to managing land and water resources. The Fens is an area in the East of England where many parts lie below sea-level. Also known as the Fenland, the area faces similar water challenges as the Netherlands. As North Sea Neighbours we have been ambitious climate partners for years and work together in many areas. During last week's launch of the collaboration, Delta Commissioner, Peter Glas, shared his expertise and experience from the National Delta Programme in the Netherlands.
North Sea Neighbours connecting in integrated adaptation
The newly launched project is called Future Fens Integrated Adaptation, and will deliver resilience to the impacts of climate change, unlock housing growth and job creation, allow for upgraded transport links, improve biodiversity and support new opportunities for tourism. The project is the first of its kind anywhere in the UK.
Key elements to the strategy which are already being taken forward include:
- New multi-sector, multi-beneficiary reservoirs could provide additional water supply resilience for water companies, farmers and the food industry, and improve the water environment;
- Exploring the flood resilience measures needed to support growth areas in the Fens, enabling key local infrastructure projects such as a rail connection from Wisbech to Cambridge and the dualling of the A47 to move forward;
- Enhancement of open water channels for nature and biodiversity, tourism and navigation, as well as further water storage and flood risk management benefits;
- Unlocking the full potential of the grade 1 agricultural land across the Fens would add billions of pounds to the local economy and benefit local people in terms of skills, jobs and new opportunities.
The Fens is the only specific region highlighted in the Environment Agency’s national flood risk strategy, and this initiative will be the centrepiece of Water Resources East’s regional plan for water management in the East of England, as well as forming a central part of Anglian Water’s Water Resources Management Plan.
Next steps for the initiative include a detailed scoping phase to establish funding opportunities and synergies between agencies. It is hoped that Future Fens will be showcased as a global exemplar of integrated adaptation to climate change at COP26 in Glasgow this November.
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