Climate change event attracts EU delegates

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HASTINGS hosted delegates from across Europe at a conference to mark the completion of a project designed to combat climate change.

Future Cities, funded by the European Union, was set up to see how cities and towns could adapt to climate change and reduce its severity.

The scheme funded demonstration projects in environmental sustainability and last week’s event included presentations of the results.

The Future Cities programme has been led by the German water board Lippeverband. Other partners came from the Netherlands, West Flanders in Belgium, Germany, Rouen in France as well as Hastings.

The conference itself was held at the Sussex Exchange, a new sustainable conference centre part-funded by the EU programme, with the Jerwood Gallery hosting the reception.

Conference attendees included planners, engineers urban designers, developers and climate change experts, as well as key speakers from across northern Europe.

Cllr Jeremy Birch, leader of Hastings Borough Council, was one of those who spoke at the event. He said: “It was good to see so many enthusiastic delegates - more than 130 - from across northern Europe here, enjoying the conference, and enjoying Hastings.

“It was particularly timely, as this week is Climate Change Week. We have already directly benefitted from the Future Cities project, including the refurbishment of a property in Cambridge Gardens into four environmentally friendly flats, and the building of the Sussex Exchange.

“But this was just the start, and I look forward to future joint work with our European partners to ensure that we are ready and able to deal with the climate change challenge.”

Katharine Knox, of the Rowntree Foundation, said: “We are particularly interested in the human side of the climate change story, making sure that people, some of whom are very vulnerable, are considered, as well as the built environment.”