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HRH The Duke of Cambridge applauds Cambridgeshire COP initiative

A year-long Cambridgeshire COP which aspires to put the county at the forefront of the UK’s efforts to fight climate change kicked off yesterday with His Royal Highness, The Duke of Cambridge, pledging his support for the campaign.

More than 70 representatives of organisations fighting the climate emergency in the county joined the webinar led by Cambridgeshire County Council Leader Cllr Lucy Nethsingha, who was inspired to bring together countywide organisations following last year’s COP26 in Glasgow.

Following an opening address by the council leader, the Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire Julie Spence read a letter of support from HRH The Duke of Cambridge.

In it, he says: “We face devastating planetary and humanitarian crises if we do not act now. But I am optimistic. Humanity has the ingenuity and determination to increase biodiversity, decarbonise transport, reduce waste and tackle global warming. It requires business, researchers, entrepreneurs, governments and the public to come together. It is why I launched The Earthshot Prize and why I applaud Cambridge’s initiative.

“Thank you for your leadership and good luck with today’s launch. I am with you every step of the way.”

The 90-minute webinar involved guests from a range of organisations including local authorities, business organisations, pressure groups and faith groups – and you can see a recording of the event here.

Speakers included Mayor Dr Nik Johnson, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and Cllr Pippa Heylings, who sits on both the Local Government Association cross-party Climate Board representing councillors across England and Wales and South Cambridgeshire District Council.

Four interactive sessions then took place looking at specific areas: increasing biodiversity, developing sustainable transport, changing heating and housing options and dealing with waste.

Feedback from each concentrated on what actions can be taken now and in the future to support the whole county to achieve net zero.

Cllr Nethsingha said: “Our Cambridgeshire COP launch event was a great success with people from a variety of organisations and a range of backgrounds coming together to pledge support for the campaign and share ideas. As HRH The Duke of Cambridge said in his letter of support, finding the solutions that we need to will require us all to come together and share learning, experience and insight, and this event was just the very start. There was real enthusiasm and passion for us all to work together to tackle the climate crisis and I am excited about the year ahead.

“For those who were unable to attend, we still want to hear from you. We have further events planned throughout the year so please look out for details and get involved.”

Mayor Dr Nik Johnson said: “Cambridgeshire COP is about making the most of the connections between local authorities, businesses and the voluntary sector in the region to establish and spread good climate practice. It allows us to showcase the great work we are already doing, and feed into COP27.

“There is lots of potential for Cambridgeshire to be world-leading on climate and this first meeting was the first opportunity to think collectively about sustainable transport, waste management, home heating and biodiversity. I look forward to working closely with the group to fast-track opportunities for green ideas.”

Cllr Pippa Heylings said: "It was fantastic to see the huge number and diversity of people and organisations taking part in our Cambridgeshire COP launch yesterday.

“Following the latest report on irreversible climate impacts released yesterday by the IPCC, it is more important than ever that central government recognises and empowers all levels of local government to help meet UK's net zero targets. Only local government holds the assets, delivery mechanisms and partnerships that can truly decarbonise housing, energy, waste and transport.

“So much is already happening as was apparent in the lively group work during the webinar. Cambridgeshire can provide a national and global example of developing Locally Determined Contributions to help meet national net zero goals.”

This week’s launch signalled the start of events and activities to be led by a range of different organisations from the public and private sector in the county, with an invitation for more involvement by other groups made by Cllr Nethsingha

Other plans being developed for the 2022 Cambridgeshire COP include:

  • Business organisations focussing on biodiversity in May to mirror the international biodiversity conference in China.

  • Activities led by youth groups in June to coincide with the pre-COP 27 discussions in Bonn.

  • A two-week series of activities across Cambridgeshire in November (7-18) to take place simultaneously with COP27 in Egypt.

If you or your organisation has suggestions for events or activities which could be held as part of the Cambridgeshire COP please contact communications@cambridgeshire.gov.uk.