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In a letter published on the 24th June by the new Countryside Climate Network, a cross-party group of 21 councils from every region in England, warn that “rural communities are at the frontline of feeling the effects of climate change” and that “the countryside offers far more than a place to plant millions of trees to offset carbon emissions.”
The group aims “to ensure that the voice of rural knowledge and experience on climate action is listened to in Westminster” and its new Chair, the leader of Cambridgeshire warns that rural areas face “unfair barriers to decarbonise” including lower budgets and funding rules which favour urban concentrations but may have less overall carbon reduction. The group wants the Government’s delayed £100bn infrastructure fund “to support the ambitions of rural areas and the opportunities our countryside and green infrastructure can provide”.
The new network has been established by UK100, a network of local leaders that campaigns on climate change. The 21 councils represent 14.3 million people in total, a quarter of the population (25%) and two fifths (41%) of England by area.
The letter says that “the countryside offers more than a place to plant millions of trees to combat climate change. Rural communities have always been a great source of national progress and innovation.”
The Rural Services Network believes that rural areas must play their full part if the UK is to rapidly reduce its carbon footprint and achieve its net zero target. An approach based solely on urban areas alone would fail.
The RSN has long campaigned for fairer funding for rural areas.
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