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Flood Defence & Climate Change

The National Adaption Programme Defra’s progress report on becoming ‘Climate Ready'

Defra has published a National Adaptation Programme ‘Progress Check’ outlining the priorities to help the UK meet the challenges of climate change and become ‘Climate Ready.’

The National Adaptation Programme was created, as required by the Climate Change Act, to address the risks set out in the first UK Climate Change Risk Assessment of January 2012 and the first National Adaptation Programme will be published in 2013 focusing on helping UK businesses, local authorities and civil society to become more resilient or ‘Climate Ready’ to climate change impacts. Through co-creation, Defra hopes to stimulate innovative policymaking and to empower a wide variety of non-government organisations to take responsibility for finding the best solutions for their sector.

The National Adaptation Programme will be built around 5 core themes and will be reviewed every five years to address the most pressing climate change risks to the UK.

The 5 core themes are: • Agriculture and forestry;

• Built environment and infrastructure; • Business and services; • Health and wellbeing; • Natural environment.

Agriculture & Forestry

The programme for agriculture is to look at means of increasing resilience to drought and lack of water availability, including through water abstraction licensing reform and water catchment partnership pilot. Whilst also maintaining and improving soil structure and function to aid adaptation, including through soil policy and working with drainage authorities and water cycling and soil policy.

Built environment and Infrastructure Built Environment

The risks considered to the built environment include extreme weather such as flooding, storms, heat waves and drought. Longer term effects include changes such as increasing temperatures and sea level rise. Most of today’s new and existing buildings are not necessarily equipped to cope with current and future climates, and at the current rate of replacement, around 70% of buildings that will be in use in the 2050s, already exist. The Built Environment theme focuses across

three main areas: buildings – where, what, how and standards; resilience and response to emergencies; and decentralisation and localism.

The proposal is theat: “Buildings and places and the people who live and work in them are resilient to a changing climate and extreme weather; and organisations in the built environment with an increased capacity to address the risks and take the opportunities from climate change”

• Support the implementation of planning reforms;

• Consider the response to overheating risk; • Better and more widespread use of Green Infrastructure to mitigate climate risks; including Urban Heat Island and surface water flooding;

• Support implementation of the Water White Paper;

• Long term strategy for flood and coastal management.


The existing stock of bridges, roads and power stations is already vulnerable to today’s extreme weather. The Government has prioritised the need to address the risks climate change presents to infrastructure and to improve the long-term resilience of new and existing infrastructure networks in the energy, ICT, transport, and water sectors. Many organisations within the infrastructure sector were asked to prepare Adaptation Reports, setting out how climate risks impact on their organisational objectives and the steps they are taking to adapt to them.

Business and Services

These too need to understand how climate change will effect the way in which they operate. They face many different risks, including natural hazards such as flooding, drought and heat waves.

Health and wellbeing

Flood, droughts, hextreme temperatures etc can have serious impact on our health and this will impact greatly on health care and social care organisations.

Natural environment

The natural environment provides us with essential services, for example food, flood risk reduction, clean water and recreation, as well as having an intrinsic value. Deterioration. A healthy natural environment can also help society to adapt to climate

“We would very much like to receive comments from stakeholders on what is set out in the report, ideas about areas to further develop and offers to contribute from organisations that haven’t been involved so far.

“I and the Climate Ready team look forward to further collaborative work to develop the National Adaptation Programme as we look towards publication in 2013.”

change in a sustainable way. The natural environment theme will support delivery of the Natural Environment White Paper and the Biodiversity Strategy 2020.

Theme proposals • Adapting to key water risks such as environmental low flows and water quality including through piloting adaptation within the water catchment

• Adapting to key biodiversity risks through action to increase the resilience of landscapes and habitats including through a new ‘Climate Ready Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Working Group’ of key stakeholders and progressing the work through Nature Improvement Areas; • Embedding climate change adaptation within the work of the Ecosystem Markets Task Force and Defra’s Payment for Ecosystem Services project;

• Supporting Local Nature Partnerships to embed adaptation within their approach where they wish to do so;

• Adapting to key marine risks through working with the Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership and by improving the integration between marine and land based approaches to adaptation.

Defra Minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach said:

“I am pleased to publish a short report on our progress in co-creating the

National Adaptation Programme as part of work to develop a Climate Ready UK. This reflects work so far, that has already involved a wide range of stakeholders. It sets out our general approach and the priorities for each theme.

You can read the full report here:

To comment on the initial priorities in the progress check, email by 14 September 2012. 11

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