part of the North West Climate Change Action Plan

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Adapting to Climate Change in England: A Framework for Action

Date: 2008

Evidence type: Policy

Organisations: Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Cabinet Office, Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), Department of Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform, Department of Children, Schools & Families, Department of Culture, Media & Sport, Department of Health (DoH), Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills, Department of Transport, Department of Work & Pensions, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, HM Treasury, Home Office, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice

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This document and the new website set out what Government has already done and what it will be doing to help the country adapt to the changes ahead. Much of what needs to be done will be at local level and embedded in other activities, like building schools or planning new business ventures. We will find solutions together as we build this plan of action. This document outlines the 'Adapting to Climate Change' Programme's framework for action over the next three years.

The Government's Adapting to Climate Change Programme brings together the work already being led by Government and the wider public sector on adapting to climate change, and will co-ordinate and drive forward the development of the Government's work on this in the future. The Programme is led by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), which acts as central co-ordinator for the Programme.

Key Messages

The Adapting to Climate Change Programme is in two phases: Phase 1, from 2008-2011 will lay the groundwork necessary to implement Phase 2 - a statutory National Adaptation Programme, as required by the Climate Change Bill.

The phase 1 workstreams are:  

A. Providing the evidence  

(a) UKCIP08  

(b) Assessing the risk of climate change for the UK  

(c) Costing the risks and opportunities from climate change  


B. Raising awareness, and helping others take action  

(a) The UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP)  

(b) Guidance on assessing the risks of climate change and taking action  

(c) Action at the regional and local level  

(d) Further research work  


C. Ensuring and measuring progress  

(a) Measuring successful adaptation - indicators of success  

(b) Ensuring delivery across the public sector and utilities  

(c) External scrutiny  


D. Government policy and process: embedding adaptation  

(a) Embedding adaptation into Government processes and systems  

(b) Embedding adaptation into key Government Programmes

Climate change role/function
Non-specific adaptation role/function

The foreword highlights that the natural environment needs attention, both to enable our wildlife and countryside to adapt and because innovative approaches to managing our natural environment can be part of our adaptation response.

Green infrastructure type
Non-specific green infrastructure
Climate change role/function
Non-specific adaptation role/function; Helping other species to adapt

Several adaptation case studies are referenced in the document.

e.g. Vale Street is an urban residential scheme that:  

- has selected building materials and used construction methods that mean that the homes will retain warmth in the winter yet remain cool in the summer months;  

- aims to reduce the energy demand of homes through mechanical heat recovery and super insulating the building fabric;  

- used green roofs, which benefit biodiversity and keep buildings cooler;  

- orientated the houses and apartments towards the open aspects of the site, reflecting the need to maintain some solar shading, whilst making use of passive solar heating.

Green infrastructure type
Non-specific green infrastructure; Green roofs
Climate change role/function
Managing high temperatures; Helping other species to adapt

Climate change will have both positive and negative impacts on every aspect of our economy, society and environment.

These include:  

- Critical national infrastructure - water and sewerage infrastructure (increased risk of summer water shortages, increase in water quality problems), solid waste management (increased rate of degradation and leaching at landfill sites), transport ( less risk of disruption from cold weather and fog, increased pressure on infrastructure due to heat, changing rainfall patterns and extreme weather events), energy infrastructure and networks (vulnerable to flooding, storms and extreme heat).  


- Public services - emergency planning and security (increased risk of extreme weather events and more pressure on emergency services).  


- Healthcare (reduced winter mortality; more heat-related health problems).  


- Households - homes (increased risk of subsidence; discomfort in buildings in summer, increased flooding risk in some areas).  


- Natural environment - terrestrial biodiversity (some species and habitats may be gained and others lost), marine environment (some species and habitats may be gained and others lost), damage to ecosystem services (loss of carbon storage in peat soils, reduction in soil quality, increased risk of invasive species taking hold).  


- Land based economy - agriculture and horticulture (potential to grow new crops, reduced yields for others, more/different pests and diseases), forestry (increased growth and productivity, increased drought risk).  


- Wider economy - heritage (increased risk of extreme weather damage to historic buildings and ancient monuments), business (disruption to supply chains, new markets and opportunities; changing consumer demand), financial/insurance services (new financial products required to manage risks, increase in insurance claims and premiums as a result of extreme weather), tourism and leisure (positive and negative changes in tourism, increased opportunities for outdoor sports, increased pressure on green space for leisure).

Green infrastructure type
Non-specific green infrastructure; Parks and public gardens; Woodland; Agricultural land
Climate change role/function
Carbon storage and sequestration; Managing high temperatures; Managing water supply; Managing riverine flooding; Managing surface water; Reducing soil erosion; Helping other species to adapt; Managing visitor pressure
Document Analysis


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Geographical area to which document refers
Is 'green infrastructure' mentioned?
Relevant to climate change...
Is it relevant to other (non-climate change) benefits of green infrastructure?
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