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 most recent assessment was published by the ASC in 2016. It outlined risks to the UK in six key areas:
    1. Flooding and coastal change risks to communities, businesses and infrastructure.
    2. Risks to health, well-being and productivity from high temperatures.
    3. Shortages in the public water supply, and for agriculture, energy generation and industry, with impacts on freshwater ecology.
    4. Risks to natural capital, including soils, coastal, marine and freshwater ecosystems, and biodiversity.
    5. Risks from climate-related impacts on domestic and international food production and trade.
    6. New and emerging pests and diseases, and non-native species, affecting people, plants and animals.
  • 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 reported 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. Since 2009 there have been two rounds of reporting, with just over 100 organisations invited to report on a voluntary basis for the second round between 2014 and 2016.  The ASC provides advice to the Government on the Reporting Power. New advice is due to be published in early 2017.
  • 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.