A cash boost of �450,000 this year and a further two year commitment to boost projects that help England's regions adapt to climate change was announced by Climate Change Minister Joan Ruddock today.

Ms Ruddock, speaking at a Guardian conference on planning for climate adaptation, said the new funding would help Regional Climate Change Partnerships deliver adaptation projects.

Ms Ruddock said: “Climate change is the greatest challenge facing our generation. Here in the UK we’ve felt the brunt of extreme and unpredictable weather and we know that those events will only increase with the growing effects of climate change. We cannot bury our heads in the sand -- we need to act now to prepare ourselves for the inevitable impacts of climate change.”

“Developing local adaptation strategies is vital – because local people are best placed to know how their areas will be affected, and what needs to change. That’s why we’re providing this funding boost to our Regional Climate Change Partnerships.

“I want our communities to understand how they can adapt, I want them to be prepared and I want them to have clear action plans so they can respond to climate change in their region and evolve their plans to continue to meet this new challenge.”

The £450,000 additional funding this year and additional funding for the next two years will ensure the Regional Climate Change Partnerships are able to continue their work to raise awareness, build capacity and stimulate action in the regions. E

ach Climate Change Partnership will be able to bid for up to £50,000 this year, £30,000 next year and £20,000 in 2010/2011 under five key themes covering: Development and updating of regional strategies Landscape scale natural environment issues and biodiversity Economic development Multi-area agreements Innovation/specific regional opportunities

The funding will be available to support existing projects or new projects. The UK Government is committed to taking action to avoid dangerous climate change by reducing the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. It is on track to almost double the UK Kyoto target. Despite this success, some degree of climate change is inevitable. Even if we stopped all emissions of greenhouse gases tomorrow we would still be locked into 30 to 40 years of climate change. This includes temperatures rising, increased water scarcity, threatened biodiversity loss, extreme weather events and rising sea levels.

“The effect of today’s greenhouse gases will be felt by future generations and we must pave the way to adapting to our changing climate today.”