Cool Steps - Wirral Climate Emergency Strategy

Progress Report 2021 and 2022

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This report provides an update on local progress in the face of the climate emergency.  It is the sixth in a series of public reports produced by the Cool Wirral Partnership to document local steps to address the climate crisis.  

This report covers the 3rd year of the Cool 2 strategy.  It summarises of some of the action undertaken during 2021 and 2022.   

It starts by setting out the context for local action, including the international and national picture.  Information on local activity is then presented including some data to indicate the local position.  The report concludes with some remarks on the opportunities ahead.

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The climate emergency is a global crisis with a local dimension.  Pollution from human activities, principally the burning of fossil fuels for heat, power, and travel, is driving an unnatural rise in global temperatures.  This excess heating is disrupting climatic patterns and contributing to rising sea levels which both present serious problems.  

To avert the potentially catastrophic effects of ‘run-away’ global heating, we need to cut greenhouse pollution drastically and fast.  We also need to adapt to the changes that have happened or are already unavoidable from past pollution.  We are already experiencing more extreme weather episodes locally and across the planet driven by the 1°C of excess heating recorded since the pre-industrial period.  

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The international and national picture

Globally, the UN’s Paris Agreement seeks to keep average global temperature rise to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C.  To have a chance of staying within 1.5°C rise means cutting global emissions rapidly to reach ‘net zero’ towards the middle of this Century. ‘Net zero’ is the point when the amount of pollution we release to the atmosphere is less than or equal to that which is removed naturally, or by artificial means.    

2021 was an important year for climate action, with the UK government hosting the UN’s delayed 26th conference of the parties (COP26) in Glasgow.  In the run up to COP26, a series of high profile reports combined with a run of devastating weather events meant climate disruption was never far from the news. Scotland recorded the highest UK temperature in August – 27.2°C (80.9F) recorded at Tyndrum – breaking a run of 20 years during which England had the hottest day. The summer was unusually dry in Scotland as well, with just 62% of average rainfall.

In contrast, the south and east of the UK were duller and wetter than average, despite the Met Office issuing its first ever extreme heat warning when a hot spell struck the south and west in mid-July. At the end of that month there were also torrential downpours in London that caused flash flooding, with the capital receiving 50% more rain than the long term-average.

Map showing sunshine duration during summer 2021
Map showing rainfall during summer 2021

Summer 2022 in the UK was the joint warmest summer on record according to mean temperature. This means that four of the five warmest summers on record for England have occurred since 2003 as the effects of human-induced climate change are felt on England’s summer temperatures. In England, 2022 was the 6th driest summer on record and the MET office have provisionally named 2022 as the UK’s warmest year on record.

Map showing maximum temperature during summer 2022
Map showing rainfall amount during summer 2022

Under the Paris Agreement all nations must set out their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) towards the global goal.  COP26 was an important opportunity for countries to strengthen their commitments.

The UK had to tighten its own targets and bring forward new plans to be in line with the new Paris Agreement.  The UK legal target is now ‘net zero’ emissions by 2050.  Under the Climate Change Act, the Government is required to set out actions to achieve this target.  It must indicate how it will stay within a series of five-year ‘carbon budgets’ on route to becoming net-zero.

The latest report of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) to Parliament showed that UK emissions rose 4% in 2021, compared with 2020 as the economy began to recover from the COVID-19 Pandemic. The report also highlighted that tangible progress is lagging behind policy ambition and the UK requires greater emphasis and focus on delivery and a need for action to address the rising cost of living to be aligned with Net Zero. There remains an urgent need for equivalent action to reduce demand for fossil fuels to reduce emissions and limit energy bills. 

2022 saw the world leaders gather for COP 27 which saw a historic breakthrough to help vulnerable countries deal with loss and damages from the impacts of climate change. A committee will be formed to develop the scheme, and the details will be proposed at COP28. 

However, the talks did not take any significant new steps to curb emissions, which are critical to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C. The final fossil fuel statement included was the same as the one included last year at COP26 – a commitment to phase down unabated coal use. The final agreement also included a statement on increasing low emission and renewable energy. ‘Low emission’ has been broadly interpreted as natural gas, and this has drawn wide criticism.

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The local response

The local response to the climate emergency in Wirral has been developed collectively through the Cool Wirral Partnership – a multi-sector partnership set up to champion and co-ordinate local climate-related action.  The partnership provides an independent voice on local climate matters.

The Cool 2 strategy is the latest local framework for action updated to be in line with the Paris Agreement.  Cool 2 makes clear local emissions need to be all but eliminated by 2041 if we are to meet our fair share of the global challenge.  The remaining local emissions ‘budget’ for this century (the absolute maximum we can afford to emit locally as our fair share of pollution going forward) could be used up within five or six years if we do not change course rapidly.  We will need to go further and much faster than anticipated in the original Cool strategy.  

Cool 2 is a strategy for all with an interest in Wirral.  The approach taken is based on the belief that we can make a bigger impact by encouraging and co-ordinating efforts.  It recognises that we all have a potential role to play.  For success, there needs to be widespread action from all quarters within and beyond the Cool Wirral Partnership.  To this end, Cool 2 adopts a similar approach to the Paris Agreement in that it asks all those who support the strategy to set out what their ‘Locally Determined Contribution’ to it will be.  

The first two years of the Cool 2 strategy were heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Initial measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, disrupted the implementation of some planned climate actions, but they also brought rapid changes in behaviour some of which may have helped to reduce emissions.  The challenge going forwards is to ensure the recovery from COVID-19 moves us forward not backwards with regards to addressing the climate challenge.

The Cool 2 strategy sets two goals: achieving net zero climate pollution and making the borough climate resilient.  It also seeks to ensure the foundations are in place to achieve these goals rapidly.

Net zero climate pollution:

  • Lean energy
  • Clean energy
  • Clean travel
  • Wiser decisions
  • Carbon storage

Climate resilient:

  • A clear view of climate risk
  • Adaptation

Foundation for change: 

  • Wider climate understanding
  • Adequate resourcing
  • Strong partnerships and networks
  • Evidence informed action

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Net Zero Wirral

The estimated emissions provide a breakdown of greenhouse gas emissions at local authority level, using nationally available datasets going back to 2005. This year the data includes estimates of methane and nitrous oxide emissions (weighted by global warming potential) for the first time, in addition to the carbon dioxide emissions estimates. Since the last Cool Steps report, estimated emissions in Wirral continued to reduce in 2019 and 2020 (latest available data).

Local Authority CO2e emission estimates within scope of Local Authorities

Wirral territorial CO2 emissions estimates (within the scope of influence of Local Authorities) 2005-2020 (kt CO2) (Source)

In 2020, the decrease in carbon dioxide emissions was driven mainly by a fall in transport emissions in quarters 2,3 and 4, due to the pandemic. However, the long-term fall in UK emissions has been the shift in the power sector away from using coal for electricity generation towards gas and renewables. Given the current trajectory, the UK needs to see the pace of transition to renewable sources increase. 

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Leaner use of energy: reducing demand for energy

To support the net zero goal, an objective of Cool2 is to reduce the overall demand for energy in Wirral across residential, commercial, and industrial sectors.  

To enable the move towards renewable as our primary energy source we also need to see a reduction in overall energy consumption.

Local energy consumption in focus:

Mean gas consumption domestic

Natural Gas is an important part of the UK energy mix, accounting for nearly 29 per cent of production and 42 per cent of demand in 2021. UK gas demand increased by 5.9 per cent in 2021 compared with 2020, largely due to the easing of restrictions in place to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with weaker performance from renewable generation and colder temperatures.  This picture was reflected in the mean gas consumption from domestic properties in Wirral. The consumption of gas per household in Wirral is similar to the Northwest average, although higher than the LCR as a whole. 

We need to see a sustained and rapid downward trend in domestic gas consumption as energy efficiency measures reduce demand for heating and we move away from the use of natural gas as a heating fuel.

Electricity consumption domestic

In Great Britain as a whole, domestic electricity consumption increased by 5.6%, the Covid pandemic was probably a key factor driving the changes in the electricity consumption between 2019 and 2020. The increase was offset by a record year-on-year fall in non-domestic consumption, likely linked to a reduction in economic activity, increased time spent at home and an increase in home working.

Over time it is expected that there will be a rise in demand for power with the adoption of electric vehicles and the shift to the use of electricity as part of efforts to decarbonise heating. Therefore, it is important to move away from generating electricity using fossil fuels to renewable sources and that we have resilient infrastructure to support the transition.

Recent Steps:

Energy performance certificates indicate the energy efficiency of a building. To ensure we reduce our consumption of energy within the residential sector we need to see all homes currently below Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band C improved to this level or better by around 2030.

The UK has a high proportion of older homes, and this is reflected in Wirral. Overall, the percentage of dwellings in the borough with EPC band C or above was 32.34%. The number of domestic buildings/properties that need to be upgraded is substantial.  It is considerably more than is being improved through known improvement programmes.  The effort to decarbonise buildings requires continued investment from owner occupiers and landlords.  Around £800 million investment is needed in housing just to raise property performance to Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) C. (Source within Wirral)

Cool Wirral Partners Wirral Council and Magenta Living have been upgrading the fabric of homes to ensure they meet the requirements of Band C. 298 homes received grants under Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery (LAD2). A full dataset on all 298 homes will be obtained at programme close-down, after all post-works EPCs have been lodged on the government register. The following is a summary of the EPCs for the first 125 homes:

EPC Bands  Number of homes pre-works  Number of homes post-works 
E, F or G 33 3
D 92 30
C 0 75
B 0 17
A 0 0

74% of homes post-works did however fall into these higher EPC bands. The final cost of the programme in Wirral (capital only) is estimated at £2,934,800, at an average grant per property of £9, 848.

Magenta Living have also undertaken works to over 200 properties within their management to bring them up to EPC band C.

Energy Company Obligation (ECO)

The Energy company obligation is an obligation on energy suppliers to help households cut their energy bills and reduce carbon emissions by installing energy saving measures. Although EPCs are produced pre- and post-works under ECO, the ECO dataset produced by the government does not include EPC data. A summary of installations under ECO 2017-22 can be seen in the table below , with LCR LAs for comparison, showing Wirral has received the highest number of ECO installs per 1,000 households in the LCR:

LA Households with at least one usual resident Measures installed through ECO Of which Flex  ECO measures per 1,000 households Flex measures per 1,000 households
Knowsley 62,625 5,181 187 82.9 3.0
Liverpool 217,846 20,313 3,446 93.2 15.8
Sefton 119,852 10,974 715 91.6 6.0
St. Helens 78,504 3,578 544  45.6 6.9
Wirral 142,800 16,048  2,532 112.4 17.7

In 2022, Wirral Council as part of a collective bid for Low Carbon Skills fund with the LCR were successful in receiving funding to enable heat decarbonisation plans for 10 of the council's highest emitting buildings. The plans will be used as the basis for a Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme funding bid in September 2023 to implement the plans.
The Wirral LED Street lamps replacement programme began in 2017. Its goal was to fit the new energy efficient LED light bulbs within previous contracts. In August 2019 a contract was awarded which seen more than £10 million invested in Wirral’s streetlight infrastructure. The project was completed in March 2022 and replaced approximately 25,000 lights and 10,000 lamp post columns with an estimated 60% energy reduction.

Energy Projects Plus through their Save Energy Advice Line, home visits and attendance at events provided energy efficiency advice to 2,802 Wirral households.

In early 2019, Wirral Council introduced a new Heating & Renovation financial support scheme, partly in response to the close down of the old ‘Cosy Loan’ scheme. The scheme can be used to replace old boilers in low-income households in receipt of Council Tax Support. In 2021/22 there were 25 Heating & Renovation Grants issued for heating upgrades.

The Cool Wirral Partnership Zero Carbon Buildings Taskforce was established in 2021 to bring together a wide range of stakeholders with an interest in the role of the built environment and infrastructure for reducing carbon emissions and responding to the challenges of climate change adaptation. 

The collaboration and the legacy of the Taskforce that has established four Task and Finish Groups to take a deeper dive and develop projects and future investments in the sector. The Task and Finish Groups have been taken forward through partnership working and recognising the expertise and influence. These Groups are:

  • Residential Retrofitting
  • Non-residential Retrofitting 
  • Regional Collaboration 
  • Nature Based Solutions 

Locally, Cool Wirral Partners Peel L&P have continued to deliver sustainable design at Wirral Waters. The start of December 2022 saw the completion of the first phase of Redbridge Quay, a development of highly sustainable family homes in the emerging Northbank neighbourhood.

The new homes are engineered using Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) and will exceed all carbon reduction targets. Town House alone is over 50% more energy efficient than the average new build home. 

Officially opened in March 2022, Hythe is the first Grade A office building to be developed speculatively on the Wirral for over a decade. Hythe holds the highest standards in sustainability with a BREEAM-Excellent rating, placing it in the top 10% of all buildings for green credentials. Efficient building systems, sustainable urban drainage, the installation of photovoltaic panels, electric car charging points, cycling facilities, and future provisions for bike charging points all contributed to this achievement.

Redbridge Quay and Hyde office building
Redbridge Quay and Hyde office building

Redbridge Quay and Hythe office building: images courtesy of Peel L&P

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Clean energy: meeting local energy needs from zero carbon and renewable sources

Another objective in support of the Net Zero goal, is to generate and/or source all our local energy needs from zero carbon and renewable sources by around 2041.

Local renewable capacity in focus

Renewable electricity - installed capacity in Wirral

Over the period of the first Cool strategy (2014-19), local renewable energy capacity rose onshore driven by growth in solar power generation, however installed capacity for ‘onshore’ wind generation and sewage and land fill gas in Wirral has grown slowly over the past 6 years. For the transition to renewable electricity to be viable we require massive investment in renewable energy infrastructure in the coming years combined with an overall reduction in energy consumption of around 50% of current use. This will also require investment in our building fabric, innovative technology and a shift in behaviour change.

Installed capacity of renewable energy on and off shore wind in Wirral

Total onshore renewable generation capacity in Wirral is eclipsed by local off-shore wind which  saw significant growth in 2016 and 2017, but has since remained stagnant with no new onshore of offshore wind capacity being delivered since 2017. In 2015 the government introduced stricter planning requirements for onshore wind which slowed progress. The new Wirral draft local plan, does support growth in renewable energy within its vision and an assessment of the local clean energy opportunity was 

Recent steps

During 2021-22:

Following the completion of a Heat Network Feasibility Study for Birkenhead at the end of 2020, a multidisciplinary consultancy team have been appointed to undertake a Detailed Project Development (DPD) Study incorporating an Outline Business Case. Due to complete by March 2023, this DPD study will be followed by an application for further funding for commercialisation and construction from the Green Heat Network Fund if a viable scheme is identified. To support the council in the study an external Project Manager has also been appointed.  The council is continuing to engage with Peel Land and Property to ensure potential future integration with a district heat network scheme being progressed for Vittoria Studios at Wirral Waters.

A turbine deployed at Sihwa in South Korea

Image: A turbine deployed at Sihwa in South Korea

There has also been considerable progress towards the use of hydrogen as a low carbon fuel in the region. Hynet North West will commit £72 million pounds worth of investment into the region, to transform the northwest into the world’s first low carbon industrial areas. The project could reduce carbon emissions by 10 million tonnes a year by 2030 and be able to deliver 80% of the UK‘s clean power target for transport, industry and homes by 2030. 

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Clean travel: transitioning to fossil fuel free local travel

To support the net zero goal, the objective for travel is to see a complete transition to fossil fuel free local travel by around 2030.  This will require a rapid shift from car use to walking, cycling and public transport use.  It will also require as major shift in the vehicle fleet away from internal combustion engine vehicles fuelled by petrol and diesel, to electric and hydrogen powered ones.

Bike Life classification Wirral
Total length of cycle routes of various types 93.74 miles
Bus lanes that you can cycle in 0.5 miles
On-road painted cycle lanes 7.06 miles
Shared use footways 17.87 miles
Cycle routes within highway, physically separated from traffic and pedestrians

3.53 miles

Traffic free cycle routes away from the highway 28.87 miles
Signed cycle routes on low-trafficked and low-speed roads 35.91 miles

Local composition of journeys in focus

Due to the UK Government’s plan to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, more and more UK residents will be transitioning to electric vehicles (EV) including those in Wirral. In the UK in 2021, 14.7% of car sales were battery electric and plug in hybrid vehicles up from 8.7% in 2020. The UK government has now closed the plug-in car grant scheme and shifted its focus to target expanding the public charge point network. This will help to ensure the transition to zero-emission transport is easy and convenient for all drivers across the UK. This reflects the picture seen within Wirral of positive growth in new ULEV registrations.

Ultra low emission vehicles registered in Wirral

Following the successful grant from the Energy Savings Trust and the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV, formally OLEV), Wirral Council received 75% grant funding for the installation of 53 on-street EV charge points. These were free at the point of use for the 1-year pilot period commencing October 2021 and over this period over 70,000 kWh was used, equating to over 250,000 miles driven (based on an estimated 3.5 miles per kWh of charging). A tariff will be implemented for 2023, following the pilot phase.

At the end of December 2022 a search showed a total of 52 publicly available chargers on Zap map within Wirral, making a total of 105 charge points for the borough, which equates to 32.7 per 100,000 population

MerseyTravel Metro Bus

In March 2022, local leaders on the Combined Authority voted unanimously to confirm franchising as the region’s preferred future model for running the bus network and services – a move that would reverse the industry’s deregulation in the mid-1980s. More than 80% of journeys on the city region’s public transport network (over 400,000 a day) are made by bus.

As part of Metro Mayor’s plan to revolutionise public transport in the Liverpool City Region, single bus fares across the Liverpool City Region are now no more than £2. For younger people between the ages of 5-18, the price of MyTicket, which allows all-day unlimited travel on the region's bus network, will be frozen at £2.20 until 2025. Travelling by bus in Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral will be saving up to 13% on journeys - no matter which company is providing the service. The hydrogen buses will be an important addition to the region’s existing fleet, which is already more than 70% low emissions. The Combined Authority has purchased an initial fleet of 20 hydrogen vehicles. The first vehicles could arrive in the city region as soon as the end of 2022. 

Recent steps…

In 2021

  • In 2021 Living Streets worked with 12 WOW schools to promote walking and cycling. 
  • A total of 6 school streets were established over the 2-year period, using temporary traffic regulation orders to close the road to cars during the school drop off and pick up times.

In 2022

  • The council established a Modeshift stars scheme and signed up a total of 7 schools to the scheme, aimed at increasing active travel and safety on the school journey.
  • Wirral Council established an active travel hub to provide information to residents on active travel and enable consultation on current and future active travel schemes  
  • An internal pilot of e-cargo bikes was put into operation within the Parks and Gardens department of Wirral Council.

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Wiser decisions: using resources - materials, land and food - in a sustainable way

Beyond measures that directly reduce emissions, Cool 2 also seeks to promote use of resources - materials, land and food - in a sustainable way so that our collective decisions do not add indirectly to the burden of climate damaging pollution in Wirral or elsewhere.

Local household waste in focus

Changes in residual waste and recycling in Wirral

The amount of waste per household increase in 2021/22, largely because of the increased time spent at home and increased packaging from deliveries, in conjunction with this the recycling rate fell to just over 31.9% in 2020/21, due in part in the reduction of collections of garden waste, with only a slight return back up to 32.3% in 2021/22. The official England ‘waste from households’ recycling rate was 44% in 2020, markedly more than 10% above that in Wirral. 

Household waste in Wirral

A 2040 composition analysis was undertaken of the types of waste found in the general waste (green) bin in Wirral, and it was found that nearly 40% is food waste, 71% of that is avoidable food waste and 42% is still packaged. Signalling the need for better food planning and more education on the use of best before/sell by dates.

The Environment Act 2021 will bring in a duty on local authorities to collect food waste. It is also likely to bring in other initiatives such as deposit return schemes, extended producer responsibility and a ‘plastic tax’. All of these are designed to incentivise reduction and reuse of materials and discourage waste of natural resources. This can be done by designing out waste at source and promoting the development of a circular economy.

Recent steps

  • The LCR Zero Waste 2040 Strategic Framework is in development by the Strategic Waste Partnership and will set out the responsibility, capacity and action to achieve a zero waste LCR.
  • The Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority as a Cool Wirral Partner, have also set out their locally determined contribution in the form of their climate action plan and as part of their plan, have established a Zero Waste website, hosting waste reduction and prevention information and resources for local residents.
  • Wirral Council and Earthmoves were successful in a joint bid to the LCR Community Environment Fund for a establish a community food initiative designed to foster a community where everyone has access to an equitable, inclusive, and thriving local food system. Focussed on reclaiming horticultural and food growing activity in the Wallasey- Leasowe area, through establishing a permaculture school, food co-ops and a patchwork community farm.
  • Wirral Council and Magenta Living supported a furniture reuse scheme ‘Refresh’ managed by Bee Wirral to reuse unwanted furniture from social housing to avoid it ending up in landfill. It is hoped that the model will be expanded to enable furniture to be donated, upcycled and sold to facilitate a sustainable business model for the future.
  • In late 2021 Peel L&P, became a member of Changing Streams CIC and has signed up to their Charter that sets out a clear mission and ambition for reducing plastic in the construction industry. Working with The University of Liverpool, Changing Streams acts as the bridge between academia and industry to drive and effect change and reduce our plastic footprint. The Charter includes a commitment from members to significantly reduce plastics in the construction industry, whether in design of the building, materials or packaging.
  • In addition to becoming a member and signing up to the Charter, Peel L&P and Changing Streams are developing a large and pioneering research project at Wirral Waters, looking into how to drive plastics out of the construction industry.

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Storing more carbon:

Cool 2, sets an objective is to capture more carbon naturally by increasing woodland cover in line with national recommendations and by protecting soils and natural habitats. To this end the strategy identifies the development of a tree strategy as a key early step.

Recent steps

  • Wirral Council produced the Tree, Woodland and Hedgerow Strategy in 2020/21 which committed to doubling Wirral’s Tree canopy by 2030, by planting 210,000 trees. It also aims to facilitate and support community planting events, lead and support community awareness campaigns and support Citizen science projects. A total of 45,559 trees were planted in 2021 and 2022 and a total of 26 community and 15 school planting events were held.
  • In partnership with Forest research, Wirral Council are also undertaking an i-Tree Eco project to quantify the structure and environmental effects of trees and calculate their value to society. It will also allow a more accurate calculation of carbon storage and sequestration of the planned tree planting.
  • Wirral Council have implemented a reduced maintenance schedule for grassed verges to encourage biodiversity and attract wildlife.
  • A pollinator strategy was published in 2022 with the aim of protecting, increasing and enhancing pollinator habitats across Wirral and increasing knowledge and understanding of pollinators.

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Climate resilient

Climate risk and adaption

Cool 2’s objectives in support of the goal to make Wirral more climate resilient are to identify vulnerabilities in the face of present extreme weather and further unavoidable changes this century, and to put in place policies, practices and infrastructure, including natural ‘green and blue’ infrastructure, that help limit negative impacts from existing and future changes in the climate. The Cool 2 strategy envisages the formation of a climate adaptation group to develop a local adaptation programme.

Recent steps

  • Cool Wirral had the first meeting of the Adaptation sub-group in November 2022. A report is going to be developed and written focusing on community adaptation in the first phase. The working group are utilising ADEPT guidance (Preparing for a changing climate: Good practice guidance for Local Government) and CCRA3 (Climate Change Risk Assessment) guidance to identify current and future risks, and the current adaptation activity at present, taking place at a national, regional and local level, the group will then undertake a gap analysis to identify where further intervention is needed.
  • The Wirral Green and Blue Infrastructure (GBI) Strategy was completed in late 2020 and identifies opportunities across the borough to protect and enhance GBI, helping guide the investment and delivery of GBI and its associated benefits. The Strategy also supports and informs policy to be included in the Local Plan 2020 to 2037, as required by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)
  • After 7 years of consultation a flood defence scheme has been implemented in West Kirby to protect 70 homes now and 540 homes in the 100 years from tidal flooding due to increased sea level. It consists of a 1.1km long flood wall which is 1.2m high. The scheme was delivered by Wirral Council in partnership with DEFRA and the Environment Agency.
  • Early 2022 saw the completion of new green spaces, dockside walkways and cycle routes that have transformed the Northbank waterfront at Wirral Waters, and now sit alongside new low-carbon homes.
  • Large sections of a new dock edge walkway are now complete. This ‘upper boardwalk’ pedestrian and cycleway link will create an attractive thoroughfare for residents alongside the water’s edge. The first of two small residential parks, which have been designed to create green open spaces at the heart of this new mixed neighbourhood, have also completed. The new half-acre park contains over 1,000 new estuarine shrubs, a bio-retention system and Sustainable Urban Drainage. The re-use of materials found during the remediation of the dockside site are another feature of the new public spaces. The park is also undergoing a Net Zero Carbon review to examine how much CO2 it can store over a 50-year time horizon.
Northbank Green - Image courtesy of Peel L&P

Northbank Green: Image courtesy of Peel L&P

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Foundation for change 

Wider climate understanding

Cool 2’s objective is educate and raise awareness about the climate emergency and about the opportunities and benefits of taking climate action and the risks and threats of inaction and to make sure we have the right skills in place to do what needs to be done.

Recent steps

  • In October 2021, the fully electric ‘Battle Bus’ headed to the Floral Pavilion Theatre, New Brighton to offer practical net zero advice to businesses across the City Region. Hosted by the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), businesses had the opportunity to find out more about why achieving net zero carbon is so important as well as hearing about the importance the role of SMEs will play in achieving the North West’s ambitions to become the UK’s first carbon neutral region. Speakers on the day included Farm Urban; End Furniture Poverty and FRC Group; the Zero Carbon Research Institute; and Energy Projects Plus.
Battle Bus - Zero Carbon Tour
  • Wirral schools continue to participate in the Ecoschools program and in 2021/22 a total of 50 schools achieved their Green Flags. In summer of 2022, Heswall Primary school held the annual ‘Science in the Sunshine’ event with schools from all over Wirral attending to view the premiere of the Eco schools ‘Climate in Chaos’ film.
  • A collaboration between Wirral’s Eco Schools, Wirral Unplugged and Wirral Environment Network, saw the launch of ‘Eco Art In The Park’ during summer 2022. Large sculptures of Wirral’s wildflowers were created by artist Alison Bailey Smith using reused materials. The flower sculptures visited schools and parks across the borough to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators.
  • Wirral Unplugged and students from Castleway Primary School designed a ‘pollinator passport’ for Eco schools to provide them with information on the importance of pollinators and a ‘how-to-guide’ on making their own bug out of reused materials.
  • The Cool Youth project was designed by youth workers from Creative Youth Development Team and young people and was aimed at getting young people to consider climate change and what it means to their local area. Workshops were held with young people focusing on specific themes such as travel, recycling, pollution, waste and energy and the feedback gathered was used to create a film screened at the Cool Youth event in December 2022. Overall, the project engaged with 70 young people aged 11-19 years across Wirral.

Stronger partnerships and networks

Cool 2’s objective is to ensure climate action is given the priority it needs and is developed in a co-ordinated way with key organisations, interests and networks involved to provide mutual support. During 2021 and 2022, despite the pandemic, Cool Wirral members continued to meet online to progress local action.

Recent steps

  • During 2022 events were able to take place and the joint Rotary Environment group held their annual Cool Heswall event in May 2022 with over 30 local environmental and eco-organisations and businesses gathered in central Heswall at Hill House Gardens and Heswall Hall.
  • The Cool Places of Worship group meet fortnightly. Over 2021/22 Faiths4change, who lead the work, engaged with more places of worship across Wirral. They support places of worship to look at their carbon footprint and have developed a lifestyle audit tool that places of worship can use to measure their congregation’s footprint and identify areas for action.
Cool Heswall Poster
  • The Cool Places of Worship group recently coordinated two workshop sessions, with over 90 attendees. The first, held in October 2022, bought together local councillors, community groups and eco teams from various places of worship to discuss the issue of heating and energy. The second workshop was delivered in partnership with the University of Chester Chaplaincy and bought groups together for a community screening of ‘The Letter’ and was followed by a discussion about future actions that could be taken by the audience.
  • Faiths4Change have been working with the Deen centre to pilot an Eco Club, the aim of the club is to bring together young people so that they can raise issues around climate change and the environment.
  • Wirral now have over 60 green organisations and businesses on the Mersey Green Network Map.
  • In April 2022 Peel L&P launched the Wirral Waters Sustainability Action Plan. The plan seeks to tackle climate emergency head on and reflects the extraordinary scale of the ‘code red’ transformation that is required, as set out at COP 26 and in more recent announcements by the United Nations IPCC. It also incorporates the lifestyle changes that have been triggered by the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Through collaborative working, the plan will ensure that sustainability and the environment continue to be embedded into each part of the development with the aim that Wirral Waters can fulfil its potential as one of the most sustainable regeneration projects in the UK.

Specific projects will be developed through collaboration with national, regional and local partners. Continued collaboration with the COOL Wirral Partnership, Energy Projects Plus, Wirral Met College, the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), University Partners, the UTS Foundation, ReciproCity, LettUs Grow, Farm Urban, Cycling UK, the Mersey Forest and Forestry Commission, Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority, and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority is key to delivering these projects.

Evidence informed action

Cool 2’s objective is to build a better picture of where we are at, what needs to be done and the impact of our actions through the collation and examination of the evidence and data available. This report refreshes data sources to present a more detailed picture of the current situation across Wirral.

Recent steps

  • In 2022 the Cool Communities and Cool adaptation subgroups were established with the focus of driving action in these areas.
  • The Wirral Waters Sustainability Action Hub is set to receive £1.75m of Government funding, through the Birkenhead Town Deal project. This collaborative facility will enable partners and the community to work together, share, innovate, train, and learn about all things relating to sustainability.

The Hub will be developed within and surrounding the vacant 1960’s Northwest Ship Repairers building at West Float, which will be fully converted, retrofitted and extended. The plans incorporate indoor and outdoor facilities, with shared workspaces, an outdoor classroom, a ‘reuse’ hub and shop, an outdoor gym, raised growing beds, beehives, energy and construction workshops, and an events space, as well as ‘wetland’ gardens and a tree-nursery.

Sustainability Action Hub - artist's impression

Image courtesy of Parkinson Inc Urban Design 

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Looking ahead

Success depends on the combination of actions from well beyond the Cool Wirral Partnership. Share this report. Share the Cool 2 strategy too. Think what it means for you. Identify the actions you are going to take at home, in your community, and in your workplace if you have not already done so. As this report highlights, we have started the journey but still have a mountain to climb:

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