Kate Willshaw, Friends of the Lake District Policy Officer writes

The 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference COP27 gets underway this week and the world is focused once again on climate change. 2022 fits in the pattern of one of the warmest years on record since the last Ice Age despite this being a La Niña year which would usually see temperatures being cooler than usual: Eight warmest years record witness upsurge climage change impacts. 

It seems a long time since Friends of the Lake District was at COP26 in Glasgow last year (pictured), but after a winter of damaging storms and summer of record-breaking heat here in Cumbria and extreme weather events around the UK and world, the need to do something about climate change looks ever more pressing and we continue to work with others on trying to reduce emissions and increase landscape resilience. 

Storm Arwen in late November last year caused huge damage to our electrical infrastructure, and many people in the county were left without power for days.  Thousands of trees were lost in the storm, dramatically altering much-loved landscapes across Cumbria. 

Image left: A tree down in Storm Arwen, photo, James Bentley.

An Ambleside resident writes movingly of the impact on the community, sadly highlighting the loss of life that these events can cause here: Reflections on Storm Arwen.

In July 2022 a heatwave exacerbated the already poor water quality in Windermere, expanding the blue green algal blooms across the lake.  Heat records were smashed by more than 2 degrees Celsius at 6 of Cumbria’s official Met Office weather stations and by 3.6*C at Levens Hall.  The magnitude of the change in records cannot be overstated, normally temperature records are only broken by tenths of a degree. 

Max temperatures Tuesday 19th July 2022
(in degrees C)

Pre-July 2022 Record temperatures
(degrees C)











Levens Hall



Isle of Walney



Weather records are falling on a yearly basis, demonstrating that climate change is happening here and now in Cumbria. The landscape, environment and communities are all feeling the effects, and many people are left wondering what will be next fearing storms, floods and suffering in the heat.

Friends of the Lake District is working closely with Zero Carbon Cumbria, the Lake District National Park Partnership, the Local Nature Partnership and others to look for landscape and nature-based solutions to adapt to and mitigate climate change and also how to reduce climate emissions from transport and domestic and business buildings through increasing take up of solar panels and changes to the way visitors and residents travel across the county.  We will also continue to campaign against high-carbon emitting developments such as the Whitehaven Coal Mine and the A66 upgrade.

We hope to see positive outcomes from COP27, because unless the major polluters step up and start taking action, things for people and nature here in Cumbria, the UK and across the world will continue to become more difficult because of extreme weather events.  Meanwhile we will continue to do what we can to help protect the landscape of Cumbria and the Lake District from the worst ravages of climate change.