The Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), set up by UK Central Government, is responsible for the economic development of the northwest of England region, which houses around 7m people and the two large conurbations of Liverpool and Manchester. In terms of climate change, the Northwest is expected to experience warmer, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers, with measurable sea-level rises by 2050, accompanied by more frequent and extreme weather events. The Northwest is the UK's largest regional economy, and is one of the most economically active regions of North West Europe. It has ambitious growth plans, with 23,800 households per annum estimated over 2006-2032. In its Climate Change Action Plan (2006-2009) NWDA therefore stresses the need to plan for adaptation in order to deal with unavoidable climate change.
NWDA has a major opportunity to influence the sustainability of new development and regeneration in the region, through its influence on regional policy and in demonstrating the achievement of the highest standards in example developments. Community Forests Northwest (http://www.cfnw.org) have been contracted by NWDA to work on the GRaBS project, and, with assistance from the project partners and working with regional actors including the University of Manchester, will develop a best practice climate change action plan. NWDA will contribute the economic arguments for climate change resilient development and the role of green and blue infrastructure.
The region has an established Climate Change Adaptation Group, and a Green Infrastructure Forum, which will be invaluable in awareness raising and dissemination of best practice in green and blue infrastructure adaptation to climate change. A dedicated website, www.ginw.co.uk/climatechange/ holds outputs to date, including an evidence base (www.ginw.co.uk/climatechange/search_start.php) of research, policy and delivery projects.