THE effect of climate change on the Lake District will be debated before a panel of environmental experts later this month.

Flooding, farming systems and the role of government will come under the spotlight at Kendal Town Hall on May 25 at the Carbon Sequestrian Event.

It has been organised by the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA), the Royal Geographic Society and the Soil Association and members of the public will be able to put questions to the expert panel.

LDNPA chief executive Richard Leafe, who will chair the question and answer session, said: “Climate change is not just a scientific study, it affects the lives of real people in real ways which we are currently seeing all too often in the national park.

“We need to hear exactly what people think about the climate change issue and hopefully we can then allay any of their fears.”

April was one of the hottest on record and wildfires have broken out in some parts of Cumbria and Lancashire because of scorched land.

It follows back-to-back dry springs and once-in-a-thousand-years flooding in parts of Cumbria in 2009.

LDNPA spokesman Mick Casey: “People are beginning to accept that the weather patterns are not what they have been in the past. Some of the consequences of that are long term but people are noticing them short-term.”

There have been reports of plant and animal species appearing a lot sooner than previous years as a result of the abnormal temperatures.

Neil Harnott, Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s senior conservation officer, said steady increases in temperature will have an effect on some animals.

“Climate change means that species are going to have to move to maintain the climate they need. As it gets warmer and warmer, they will have to move in order to get back into the temperature range they need to survive.”

Guest speakers at the Kendal event are environmental sciences professor Tim O’Riordan OBE, Soil Association policy director Lord Melchett and former Royal Geographic Society president Lord Shelbourne.

The event begins at 7pm and a fee of £5 will be payable on the door.