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Climate change influences priorities for HB

A new climate change report will help Hawke’s Bay Regional Council to re-prioritise its work programme, ahead of 2018’s Long Term Plan.

The Hawke’s Bay Climate Resilience Programme report - received by today’s Environment & Services Committee meeting - points out benefits from climate change solutions, including better water quality, better biodiversity and a healthier marine environment.

Sea level rise from climate change is already confronting coastal communities and our region is facing a warmer, drier and stormier future. Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is preparing itself to increase the region’s resilience to these changes while developing Council’s next Long Term Plan.

The report emphasises the need to adapt to challenges and take advantage of opportunities presented by climate change for Hawke’s Bay forests, urban centres, farming operations, biodiversity, biosecurity, rivers, water supplies, and flood and coastal defences.

Environment and Services Committee Chair Tom Belford welcomed the report saying, “Looking at this report, it is within reach for Hawke’s Bay to become carbon neutral, for example. Addressing climate change also puts us on a path to deal with water quality issues, improve biodiversity and the marine environment.”

The report proposes a stronger approach to policy and funding options, carrying out a regional climate resilience assessment, and exploring new ways of funding and financing solutions that may involve public-private partnerships.

HBRC CEO James Palmer emphasises the Council’s role of enhancing the region’s environment.

“With 2018’s Long Term Plan in focus, Councillors are considering the extra resources and funding we’ll need across all of the Council’s projects and operational activities. In this area alone, we may need ambitious, large-scale tree planting and management, particularly on over 200,000 hectares of vulnerable steep land in our region,” says Mr Palmer.”

“One of many questions is: how fast does the community wants us to work to keep soil on the land and improve the region’s rivers, alongside other priorities coming together in our Long Term Plan,” adds Mr Palmer.

The Hawke’s Bay Climate Resilience Programme report is available online at hbrc.govt.nz.

15 November 2017

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