Apparently, this February was the wettest February on record.

And those of us who experienced storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge on successive weekends can well believe it.

Fortunately, we have not suffered in Chester as some towns have across the UK. Although there is flooding on the Meadows and out towards Farndon, and some houses in the constituency have had to take action to prevent water coming in.

What bothers me is the increasing frequency of this extreme weather.

We are told that these flood events are one-in-a-hundred years occurrences.

And then they happen in successive years.

Average annual temperatures nudge higher every year too.

Despite the denials of a few fringe elements and vested interests, global warming and climate change is a reality and we are living with the consequences now: whether that’s flooding on the River Dee or bushfires in Australia covering an area the size of England.

The climate emergency doesn’t just affect humans: as the experts at Chester Zoo tell us, it is also a bio-diversity emergency. Many species of plants and animals are under threat of extinction and this upsets the delicate balance in nature, which in turn accelerates the rate of change.

And we may not like to hear it, but the truth is stark: the longer we leave it to take action, the harsher that action will have to be.

When facing such undeniable changes to our climate, like extreme flooding, it is natural to feel helpless, like this climate emergency is beyond our control.

But we can do something, if we take collective community action.

Locally, Cheshire West and Chester Council has declared a climate emergency and going forward, all of our polices need to viewed through the lens of climate impact.

Local projects such as The Super Trees, Surfers Against Sewage litter picks, Plastic Free Chester, 10x Greener, The Wetlands, Incredible Edible, Transition Chester, the Mersey Forest’s projects, the Alexandra Park Pollinator Park, The Narrows wildflower meadow, the Zoo’s Wildlife Corridors and the work of Transition Chester are all examples of what can be done when local people come together to influence change in their community.

This collective action must start with community projects driven by local people. I co-founded Chester Sustainability Forum along with local residents to do just that – work with local people to develop smart projects to create green jobs and tackle climate change.

We’ve made a great start and there is much more to do. But if every city across the UK took the same initiative as Chester, we could begin to make a tangible difference to this climate emergency we face.

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