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Climate Change

Volume 475: debated on Wednesday 7 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with (a) wildlife trusts and (b) gardening associations on their evaluation of the impact of climate change; and what encouragement he is giving to them to measure that impact. (198240)

I am in regular contact with a wide range of interest groups on the impact of climate change.

The England Biodiversity Group, chaired by DEFRA, oversees the delivery of the England Biodiversity Strategy which has several workstreams including Climate Change Adaptation. A number of national and local members of Wildlife Trusts are active members of different workstreams within the strategy and have the opportunity to offer their views on climate change and to influence the workstreams plans towards adaptation. In 2007 the UK Biodiversity Partnership Standing Committee published “Conserving Biodiversity—the UK Approach” a new strategic framework for the UK biodiversity action plan, which identified shared priorities for action for priority species and habitats, acknowledging the need to help biodiversity respond to climate change. The Wildlife Trusts belong to the Wildlife and Countryside Link who are members of the UK Biodiversity Partnership Standing Committee.

DEFRA has had discussions with members of the Growing Media Initiative (GMI), an industry-led group which has been set up to meet targets for the reduction of peat use in horticulture/gardening. A new project has also been funded by DEFRA to examine the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the extraction, production, processing, transport and use of growing media used by this sector and members of the GMI are involved in the Project Steering Group. In addition, DEFRA is aware that a number of growing media manufacturers and retailers are undertaking work to determine the carbon footprint of their products. DEFRA funds the UK Climate Impacts Programme, which will be hosting a stall at this year’s Chelsea Flower show to promote awareness of current and projected climate change impacts.