North East England Climate Coalition takes a significant step forward

The North East of England Climate Coalition (NEECCo) has taken a significant step forward today with the launch of its website, explains VONNE CEO Carol Botten, who's been directly involved.

Since the summer of 2019, VONNE has been working with representatives of the public, private and voluntary sectors with the intention of creating a North East England Climate Coalition (NEECCo). The coalition, using the strapline ‘Becoming England’s Greenest Region’, aims to address the climate emergency, reverse ecological collapse and ensure a just transition to a green economy.

The NEECCo website, which, along with other elements of the brand has been made possible through significant pro-bono support of a new NE communications agency Do Gooders, aims to promote and enhance the transparency of the work of the coalition, providing information on who's involved and an overview of both the work that's taken place to date, and future plans. It also provides an early opportunity to sign up as supporters and join the mailing list ahead of the formal launch of the coalition in Autumn 2020.

Key areas of the website include Our Story – where you can find out how and why NEECCo has been established, and About Us – where you can see who has joined including Strategic Partners such as a range of key government agencies, public sector bodies and civil society/VCSE sector organisations working together to develop a shared approach.

These include the Environment Agency, Natural England, Public Health England, the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Partnership; business organisations the CBI, FSB and the North East England Chamber of Commerce; and civil society organisations the North East Culture Partnership, North East England and Tees Valley Nature Partnerships, Schools North East, the regional TUC, Youth Focus North East, and of course VONNE.

We also have a wider network of partners involved and even before formally launching, a growing list of supporters detailed on the website.

About Us - How we work

An Interim Steering Group has been established to guide NEECCo through the next stage of its development, working towards a regional prospectus and the official launch. The group includes Strategic Partners and other key bodies including the North East Combined Authority (represented by Durham County Council), North of Tyne Combined Authority, Tees Valley Combined Authority and Local Enterprise Partnership, and Unison.

Our work and plans

The interim steering group recently agreed to align NEECCo's work with the workstreams of the UK Commission on Climate Change. As a consequence, preparatory planning groups on agriculture and land use, the peri-urban fringe, housing retrofit, the built environment and public engagement are being established, alongside a cross-cutting workstream on indicators for the coalition, so we can set targets and measure our success over time.

Sectoral work

In addition, our sectoral partners are developing and delivering initiatives not specifically linked to any of the NEECCo workstreams, that have been catalysed or initiated in part in response to the emergence of NEECCo. 

Some examples would include the work of the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System (NENC-ICS) on its sustainability strategy, and the VONNE Climate Action Alliance, which is developing plans to support community-based and community-led actions.

It's been a busy few months in our journey to convene the North East England Climate Coalition, with the launch of the website being the latest step on that journey. We've made great progress in getting the right organisations and people engaged and starting to shape our common vision and plans for our work. As agencies, businesses and organisations start to develop their post-Covid recovery plans, the importance of ensuring that climate and green issues are incorporated is coming to the fore, and the importance of the coalition is becoming more apparent.

Coronavirus is the defining issue of 2020. But climate change remains the defining issue of our time. Bringing the region together to work strategically and collectively to bring to bear the learning from this year on how we jointly tackle the continuing climate emergency, ecological collapse and the just transition is absolutely key, and we hope the North East England Climate Coalition can create the structure and momentum to do just that.

Visit neecco.org.uk to find out more and sign up to our mailing list.