The Essex Climate Focus Area (CFA) has been created to pilot accelerated climate action and showcase best practice in sustainable land stewardship, in collaboration with local councils, charities, residents, landowners and businesses. 

The area covers almost one third of the county – the Blackwater and River Colne catchment area – where a focused effort to combat climate change is now underway, leading the way for the rest of Essex to follow.

The creation of the CFA was one of the core recommendations in the Net Zero: Making Essex Carbon Neutral report proposed by the Commission’s Land Use and Green Infrastructure Special Interest Group (SIG).

Targeting a designated area within the county allows for more focused, ambitious, and intensive action to be delivered within shorter time frames, and where new knowledge about positive impacts can quickly be spread across the county.

The overall goal of the Climate Focus Area is to achieve net zero carbon emissions through carbon reduction and carbon sequestration methods.

The secondary goal of the Climate Focus Area is to become more climate change resilient by:

  • Improving soil health and access to natural green space and increasing biodiversity
  • Reducing air pollution
  • Reducing flooding
  • Reducing the urban heat island effect
  • Improving the amenity and liveability of Essex communities


Climate Focus Area aims

  • To achieve net zero carbon as quickly as possible in the Climate Focus Area through an intensive and bold engagement and partnership-building programme with residents, landowners, local councils and businesses.
  • Increase resilience to climate change in the Climate Focus Area by reducing flooding and air pollution, improving soil health and access to natural green space and increasing biodiversity.
  • To encourage all landowners to adopt of Sustainable Land Stewardship practices.


Climate Focus Area objectives

By 2030:

  • 30% of land cover to be managed as Natural Green Infrastructure
  • 30% of urban areas under Natural Green Infrastructure
  • Native tree cover to double (c.5% to 10% cover)
  • Every Parish to have a biodiversity action plan
  • Every Parish to have a climate emergency strategy


Climate Focus Area impacts

We are working with partners and landowners in northeast Essex (the catchments of the Blackwater and Colne) to drive greening faster. This includes:

  • Working with Natural England, Environment Agency, Essex and Suffolk Water company and Anglia Water company to support the newly established North Essex Farm Cluster to share best practice on regenerative farming, green infrastructure and water management.
  • Working with Wivenhoe, Tiptree and Stisted councils to help them develop their own Local Nature Plans. A Local Climate Engagement resource sheet has also been developed to support others to do the same.
  • Developing business cases with four pilot estates to invest in more natural habitats on their land which supports better water management, nature recovery and carbon sequestration in a commercially viable way. We have utilised funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs under the Natural Environment Readiness Fund to develop commercial business cases for investment in green infrastructure. Proposals that have now been taken forward are expected to make 438 acres more green.
  • Establishing a consortium including the Essex Wildlife Trust, the RSPB, the National Trust and 27 landowners to develop landscape scale greening projects covering over 2,700 hectares, as part of a potential future landscape recovery bid.