Then help climate scientists understand past rainfall variations and improve models for future flooding events?
The UK has an amazing repository of rainfall records from the last 200 years, but most of this is handwritten and not that easy to use in the current era. The Rainfall Rescue Project is seeking volunteers to transfer all these old handwritten pages of rainfall data into online spreadsheets.
It’s easy to do a few tens of records a day without getting bored to tears, but I recommend that you choose the option to transcribe local records because it is easier to read the handwritten locations if you recognise the place names!
It is of course a challenging time to be launching this consultation. With the concern about the spread of the coronavirus, many people will not be focused on the Climate Emergency. I certainly share those worries, and desperately hope we are lucky, and that the forecasts don’t come close to those ‘reasonable worst case scenarios’. Climate change probably has little to do with COVID-19, however it is interesting to note the similarity between responding to a viral epidemic, and adapting to climate change. When we have brought the virus under control, I hope we will be able to reflect on: our attitude to risk; and the resilience of our communities and infrastructure, that make our complex lives possible.
The risk of coronavirus will fade over the coming months. The Climate Emergency however, is a much bigger problem for us to deal with. Happily, there has been some really good work going on in Reading to get the town prepared for the challenges ahead.
On 13th March I will be at the public consultation launch of our new Reading Climate Emergency Strategy. This is a proud moment for me as Chair of the Reading Climate Change Partnership. Around this time last year, the Partnership was in the process of kick-starting a busy year of work on the Strategy. We had just agreed as well, to promote the creation of a new ‘Reading Climate Action Network’ (ReadingCAN) – something for everyone to be part of, and a growing group of experts, businesses and members of the Reading community to write and deliver the Strategy with us.
I am hugely grateful to everyone who put their time, ideas, passion and commitment into this work. There are six themes at the heart of the Strategy, all of which have detailed Action Plans of what we are going to do over the next 5 years. And the Visions behind each theme are strong and inspiring…driving us towards a town that is zero carbon by 2030, and a Reading that is getting ready to adapt and deal with what we can expect from the changing climate.
I hope you find it inspiring. Please do share with you family, friends and colleagues, and please do join us. There is a lot to do to deliver this Climate Emergency Strategy…and of course the work doesn’t stop there.
Please do give us your thoughts and feedback by taking part in our consultation. We are grateful to our Partners at Reading Borough Council for hosting and promoting the consultation, which is available here www.reading.gov.uk/climateconsultation and will be open until 24th April.
The Environment Agency is hosting 7 public drop-in events from 26 February to 20 March. Come along to find out more about flood risk in Reading and Caversham, what residents can do to prepare and our updated plans for a possible flood scheme. There will also be information on how climate change may increase flood risk in the future.
Over 700 properties are at risk from a major flood in Reading and Caversham. The latest design to reduce flood risk includes a combination of flood walls and embankments, temporary flood barriers and a channel.
After listening to feedback from the public, we have made changes to the proposed design and have new information to share. At the drop-ins, there will be landscape plans and photos showing what the scheme could look like if it is built. There will also be photos of historical flooding and information about local flood risk and how you can sign up for warnings.
It is important to note that the project is still at an early stage, so it does not yet have the relevant permissions and may not go ahead.