Study lists adaptation priorities for government

9th April 2013

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  • Adaptation ,
  • Mitigation ,
  • Natural resources ,
  • Public sector



New hospitals, schools, offices, railways and roads must be designed to cope over their entire lifetimes with potential changes to the UK's climate, warns a new report from the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics (LSE)

The report outlines 12 priority actions the government should take as part of its national adaptation programme for England, which Defra plans to publish this year.

Among the priorities identified by researchers are measures to ensure that major new developments, such as infrastructure, buildings and land management, support rather than hinder long-term resilience.

This includes supporting natural ecosystems, something the authors claim can be achieved through regulation and private markets.

According to the report, the government needs to avoid “locking in” vulnerabilities by ensuring that all new investments are robust against climate change in the long term.

The research also concludes that routine maintenance of existing public infrastructure must include retrofitting to improve their climate resilience and control costs.

“Acting early to implement programmes for existing public infrastructure can minimise costs by enabling retrofits to be part of routine maintenance,” states the report.

“The [priority] list includes many measures that aim to prevent vulnerability from becoming greater,” commented the authors.

They also suggest that many of the priorities for adaptation involve refining existing regulation and policies rather than implementing major new investment programmes. The government could reassess whether current water regulation promotes long-term resilience to a changing climate, for example.

The LSE report comes as the newly-formed green investment bank announced that it would provide 50% of the funds needed to build a low-carbon energy centre that will save Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust almost 30,000 tonnes of CO2 each year.

Private investment firm Aviva Investors has matched the bank’s £18 million investment.

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