The story of the Broads National Park is inherently linked to our changing climate. The easterly, low-lying and coastal nature of the Broads landscape makes it particularly vulnerable to the predicted impacts of climate change and sea level rise, including coastal and river flooding.
At the same time, our wetland landscape has been steadily sequestering carbon since the end of the last ice age, and now stores some 39,000,000 tonnes of CO2. In context, that is more CO2 than was released by all coal-burning power plants in the UK in the last year.
We need to plan now for the changes ahead, such as wetter winters, drier and hotter summers, and more frequent extreme events like storms and heavy rainfall, to lessen negative impacts and make the best use of positive opportunities.
If you are looking for ways to reduce your own carbon footprint, we recommend you visit the “Low Impact Living” guide produced by the Suffolk Creating the Greenest County initiative. This can be found at https://www.greensuffolk.org/low-impact-living/
Broadland Futures Initiative
To support the communities in the Broads to adapt to the risks posed by climate change, in particular flooding risk driven by rising sea levels, the Broadland Futures Initiative.
For more information, please visit our Broadland Futures Initiative page.
Broads Climate Adaptation Plan
Our most recent Climate Adaptation Plan was published in 2016. The full report and the summary are available at the links below.
We are committed to making the Broads National Park into a Zero Carbon area. This will begin with the Broads Authority setting its own target to be carbon neutral by 2030, and we will work with the wider Broads Community to set a target for the Broads Area. As part of the target setting, we worked with the other UK National Parks to commission a baseline survey from Lancaster University based Smallworld Consulting Ltd, to estimate the carbon footprint of the Broads. The full report can be read online. We will use the report to inform our next steps in reducing the Broads Area footprint.
The Broads Authority adopted a climate statement on 27 September 2019:
"Humans have already caused irreversible climate change, the impacts of which are being felt around the world. The consequences of global temperature rising above 1.5°C are so severe that preventing this from happening must be humanity’s number one priority.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C told us that limiting global warming to 1.5°C may still be possible with ambitious action from national authorities, civil society, the private sector and local communities. It is imperative that all countries work together to reduce our carbon equivalent emissions from the current 6.5 tonnes per person per year to less than 2 tonnes as soon as possible.
Individuals cannot be expected to make this reduction on their own. All government bodies (national, regional and local) have a duty to limit the negative impacts of climate breakdown, and local governments that recognise this should not wait for their national governments to change their policies.
Therefore, this Authority resolves to:
- Recognises a climate emergency and adopts the Statement in Appendix 1 of the report.
- Pledges to work towards making the Broads Authority ‘carbon neutral’ by 2030, with a further objective of reducing all carbon emissions to zero by 2040.
- Establishes a baseline for CO2 emissions using a common methodology with the National Park Authorities and develops an Action Plan and monitoring system.
- Works with its constituent local authorities to reduce emissions from domestic, travel and other sources in the Broads and across the two counties.
- Works with farmers, land managers, the National Farmers Union and Defra to influence land management practices, to maintain and build organic matter and carbon in soil, to improve biodiversity and store water to protect against flooding and drought. Works with boating and tourism organisations to continue promoting and developing environmentally friendly boating and sustainable tourism.
- Aspires to offsetting carbon emissions locally within the Broads via a Broads offsetting scheme."
Visit the Cutting the Broads’ Carbon Footprint page to find out more.