DELEGATES at a summit today will be working towards a plan to deal with the effects of climate change.

"The conference will examine what we can do as organisations and as individuals to prepare for climate change and how we can improve the environment by energy saving and recycling," said Barry Coppinger, Middlesbrough Council's executive member for public protection issues.

He is opening the conference, which, in bringing together key public and private sector organisations, will form part of a series of consultation and awareness-raising meetings, geared to producing an action blueprint.

The conference will look at transport, air quality, reducing waste, new energy and energy saving.

Mr Coppinger said: "It would be very easy to put off action and decisions to another day, but all communities need to act now to prepare for climate change and, as an Environment City, Middlesbrough is determined to take a lead."

The meeting being held in the Middlesbrough Teaching and Learning Centre, will hear how there will be an increased chance of winter floods, summer droughts, longer growing seasons and greater fluctuations in the weather and temperatures.

"These are all factors organisations such as councils, the health service and the environmental agencies will have to take into account when planning their work," said Coun Coppinger.

"They'll influence where we put new buildings, the materials we use and, most critically, how we use and save energy."