The EU is backing a two-year pilot project with €1.3 million in funding to help coastal communities in Wales and the Republic of Ireland adapt to the impact of climate change, the Welsh government announced on Thursday.
The Coastal Communities Adapting Together (CCAT) project will look at the regional implications of climate change and also seek commercial opportunities for marine energy from the Irish Sea.
The new funding is part of the Ireland Wales 2014-2020 European Territorial cooperation program, a maritime program connecting organizations, businesses and communities on the West coast of Wales with the southeast coast of Ireland.
As part of the project, local people will be encouraged to observe, interpret and record data about their community and coastal environment, and to take an active role in adapting their communities and businesses.
'This hyperlocal data will be used to populate a shared participatory map, linking local factors to the bigger, global picture to reveal patterns and trends relating to issues including population change and economic challenges,' the government said.
Some ongoing projects in the Ireland Wales program include working with 60 businesses to develop new specialist products, accessing new markets and ensuring packaging of products are sustainably sourced and minimized. The program also involves developing a project that aims to reduce the costs and carbon footprint for the fish processing industry by developing and testing a new ‘smart grid’ electricity network.
Another project aims to improve the efficiency of water distribution by developing new low carbon energy-saving technology, including micro-hydropower turbines.
'Bringing together top climate change researchers, industry experts and local government from across Wales and Ireland will help us understand the changing environment, and how it impacts on coastal communities on both sides of the Irish Sea. It’s one more practical example of real action we are taking to respond to the Climate Emergency,' said Welsh Counsel General and Brexit Minister Jeremy Miles.
By Zeynep Beyza Kilic