One Year on – Collaboration is key to achieving climate resilience by Paul Morris
Looking back at the year since the ‘Engineers Declare’ climate emergency declaration was made, there’s no doubt that some progress has been made. Discussions around the climate emergency have taken centre stage, there is much talk of what should happen and cities across the country are making their zero carbon pledges. The pandemic has accelerated, in a positive way, some of the behaviour and infrastructure change that needs to take place. Active travel and the principles of 20 minute neighbourhoods, both approaches we firmly believe in, are recognised as key to our sustainable, climate resilient future. Whilst discussing what we should do is all well and good, making real change happen is probably the biggest challenge we all face.
For us, supporting ‘Engineers Declare’ made us stop and reflect. It prompted us to set out our own Climate Charter which talks about our principles and our approach which have been at the heart of the Civic Engineers philosophy since it began and it gave us renewed impetuous in our approach to carbon reduction and climate resilience. One theme that emerged as we explored our work is the importance of true collaboration. It is this collaboration and trust we have built with our clients and those we work with, that will enable us all to bring about the change that needs to happen to address the climate emergency.
We are lucky enough to work on a number of projects with ambitious clients who truly want to make a difference socially, economically and environmentally. They realise that they have a role to play in addressing the climate emergency and we are even now seeing ‘carbon reduction’ as a heading on project meeting agendas. A great example of this is the £250m Climate Innovation District in Leeds. We have worked with Citu right from the start from both a structural and civil engineering perspective on their ambitious zero carbon project. We have helped develop their timber frame panelised system in line with passivhaus principles, delivering new homes and workspace. We have helped to design an entirely climate resilient landscape, this work was recently recognised winning the Susdrain SuDS awardin the large scale new development category. Not far away in York, the ambitions and commitment of City ofYork Council are clear for all to see. We are working as part of the design team to help deliver 600 new passivhaus homes in low car settings with functional landscapes and in Manchester, it is encouraging to see the City Council pushing the incorporation of nature based solutions in new developments, which is directly influencing our approach on Far Eastern Consortium’s Northern Gateway.
Whilst the progress we are seeing is promising, there is still a long way to go and we must work collectively as consultants, clients, communities and stakeholders to make sure that climate resilience and carbon reduction are at the forefront of the post pandemic new normal.