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£10bn a year needed for climate crisis adaptation, says committee

The government is not acting quickly enough to prepare the UK for the climate crisis, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) has said.

Investment worth £10bn a year is required to put the country on track with climate change adaptation, while the government needs to make its priorities clear and put a plan in place.

It’s thought £10bn annually would cover costs for flooding preparations, the future proofing of infrastructure and housing, nature restoration and water supply improvements. However, this figure could rise if temperatures rise to more dangerous levels.

flooded town under blue sky and white clouds

Baroness Brown, Chair of the Adaptation Committee at the CCC said: ‘Our last major assessment of the UK’s climate risk found that climate impacts have increased in the UK but that actions to prepare us are not keeping pace. It is no secret that the UK is now experiencing a range of damaging consequences of climate change, but adaptation in the UK remains chronically underfunded and overlooked. This must change.’

The CCC is urging government to set out a clear vision and framework for UK adaptation, with targets and metrics, in the next National Adaptation Programme (NAP3) planned to be published this summer.

Funding for adaptation measures should also be included within mandates and strategic priorities for industry regulators and agencies, such as Ofwat and the Environment Agency.

Additionally, public financial institutions should create adaptation financial strategies , ensuring adaptation projects can easily access finance and insurance.

Whereas some assets requires public investment, such as adaptations for flood defences, roads and schools, private investment would be needed in other areas.

The committee recommends lowering barriers to allow more households to make their homes resilient to flooding and overheating and to ensure affordable private or public investments in regulators.

Cllr David Renard, environment spokesperson for the Local Government Association, reacted to the report, saying: ‘As leaders of local communities, it is councils in our cities, towns and rural areas who will drive the collective action required to address the climate emergency.

‘The dangers highlighted by this report, including flooding, drought, heatwaves, and infrastructure damage will vary around the country, and councils will be critical to prepare services, people and places.

 ‘Councils need support and investment now to help close the gap between the changing climate and our readiness for it – the costs of inaction is far greater.

 ‘As part of the third National Adaptation Plan, the Government should engage councils to shape a policy, delivery and investment framework that enables place-based action on adaptation.’

Photo by Chris Gallagher

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