Preparing communities for climate change
An agreement between ministers and local government will help adapt the country to climate change and increase the resilience of homes, roads and parks to the effects of climate change.
Defra, the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) and the Local Government Association (LGA) are calling for vital public services to be better protected and emergency planning and social care made more resilient. Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman, Communities Minister Andrew Stunell and Local Government Association Chair Sir Merrick Cockell signed the agreement, signalling the importance of councils and central government working together to protect key services such as, health, economic development and public spaces such as parks, from the affects of climate change.
The agreement was signed at a Climate Summit hosted by the LGA in response to the impacts identified in the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2012, published earlier this year. The Summit was called to assess what more needed to done to prepare councils, and the vital public services they are responsible for, for a changing climate and how Government can help them develop adaptation plans. The findings will inform the National Adaptation Programme, which the Government will publish in 2013.
The LGA is developing a new initiative, Climate Local, to drive and champion council-led action on climate change in a way which will ensure local authorities can get the best results and value for money with the resources they have available.
The agreement in full
We recognise the importance of increasing resilience to our changing climate. We now know more about what the impacts of climate change will mean for us. The UK’s first National Climate Change Risk Assessment identifies the urgent risks we need to act on now including: flood risk, pressure on water supplies and the impacts of higher temperatures on public health, critical infrastructure and energy use.
Councils have a critical role to play in working with partners and communities to plan and ensure the UK is better prepared and resilient to climate change. They can help to increase the resilience of local places and communities, including by:
- building resilience into decisions on buildings, roads, businesses, parks and other public spaces;
- building resilience into key services such as social care, emergency planning and public health;
- making the best use of land, assets, investments and maintenance spending, to manage risk better;
- planning for the long term by reflecting climate risks and sustainable development in Local Plans;
- increasing organisational resilience to extreme weather by building climate change risks into corporate risk registers;
- supporting retrofitting, green-build, the design and management of green spaces;
- encouraging local businesses to be climate ready, to ensure they are resilient and competitive.
Central Government acknowledges the importance of locally-led action on climate change to strengthen resilience to current and future climate risk. Government will work with the Local Government Association (LGA) to develop a framework for action that sets out a clear narrative on ways in which councils can build climate resilience. The National Adaptation Programme will be informed by the local government sector and will showcase examples of council-led action.
The LGA commits to working with partners including Defra, Department forCommunitiesand Local Government and the Environment Agency to support councils to build resilience to climate risks so that timely, far sighted and well informed decisions may be made.
Recognising the cross-cutting nature of climate change, the LGA will continue to work with councils to help them build in resilience and promote the economic and financial opportunities and benefits across their key local priorities.
Through the development of the new Climate Local initiative, the LGA will aim to represent and support councils to act on climate risks and to showcase their local commitment, ambitions and achievements. Climate Local will provide a framework through which councils can organise and plan their journey in addressing climate change and a forum for peer-to-peer learning.
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