UK Adaptation Policy

The Climate Change Act put in place a policy framework to promote adaptation action in the UK consisting of:

  • The UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) is a five-yearly assessment of the major risks and opportunities from climate change to the UK. The ASC has a duty to advise Government on the preparation of the risk assessment. The first assessment in 2012 found that, without action, the largest costs are likely to come from increased flood damage and disruption, pressure on some water resources, risks to health from hotter summers, and damage to ecosystems. It also found that warmer temperatures could bring benefits such as fewer winter deaths and longer growing seasons for crops. The latest ASC advice on the CCRA is available here.
  • The National Adaptation Programme is the Government’s long term strategy to address the main risks and opportunities identified in the risk assessment, which is also produced every five years. The first National Adaptation Programme was published in July 2013. The programme focuses on the following key areas: raising awareness of the need for climate change adaptation, increasing resilience to current climate extremes, taking timely action for long-lead time measures, and addressing major evidence gaps. The ASC is due to report to Parliament on the progress made in the implementation of this programme in 2015.
  • The UK Adaptation Reporting Power grants the Secretary of State the power to require public service organisations to produce reports on what they are doing to adapt to climate change. Nearly 90 organisations, primarily infrastructure providers, reported under the first round. The Government published an updated strategy for the second round of reporting in July 2013, alongside the National Adaptation Programme. The ASC provided advice ahead of the Government’s publication of the second round of reporting’s strategy. Under the new strategy, authorities report on a voluntary basis, and those that reported in the first round should provide an update on their progress of implementation.
  • Other Government policies also affect the UK’s capacity to adapt to climate change, such as the regulation of water companies or national planning policy.