Industry Concerned at ‘Lack of Urgency’ in UK Climate Adaptation Plan


UK (Parliament Politic Magazine) – ICE and UKGBC criticize the government’s lack of ambition in its National Adaptation Program. The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) have expressed their disappointment and concern over the government’s National Adaptation Program, citing a lack of ambition as the primary issue. The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has expressed its criticism of the government’s proposed strategy to modify the United Kingdom’s infrastructure in response to the effects of climate change.

On Monday, the government released its third National Adaptation Program (NAP3), a comprehensive 140-page report detailing the actions. It is because various departments will undertake to address the challenges posed by extreme weather conditions on the country’s homes, buildings, and natural surroundings.

A Lack of Urgency in Climate Adaptation

The proposed measures encompass several commitments aimed at enhancing infrastructure regulation, significantly increasing adaptation funding to £1.5bn, and establishing a novel UK Health Security Agency Adverse Weather and Health Plan that builds upon current health alert systems. These initiatives seek to not only improve the overall effectiveness of infrastructure regulation but also bolster the resilience of our nation’s health sector in the face of adverse weather conditions.

To begin with, there is a strong emphasis on reviewing the existing regulations governing infrastructure. This comprehensive evaluation aims to identify areas that require improvement and implement necessary changes to ensure the smooth functioning and safety of our critical infrastructure systems. Furthermore, the plan entails a substantial tripling of adaptation funding, allocating a significant £1.5bn to address the challenges posed by climate change.

However, the plan has faced criticism due to its perceived lack of ambition. This criticism has come from various sources, including Chris Richards, the director of policy at ICE. Richards expressed his deep concern over the plan’s overall lack of urgency.

Despite its potential, the plan has been met with skepticism regarding its level of ambition. Chris Richards, the director of policy at ICE, has voiced his concerns, emphasizing the plan’s lack of urgency. This critique raises valid questions about the plan’s effectiveness and its ability to address pressing issues.

The Alarming Absence of Urgency in UK Climate Adaptation

ICE’s director of policy, Chris Richards revealed: “Almost exactly a year on from the hottest day ever recorded in England, while record-breaking heat and wildfires dominate headlines around the world, the impact of climate change is not some far-off threat. It is happening now.

‘’The UK needs to ramp up its adaptation measures. To do that, we need to understand what infrastructure is most at risk. 

“Acting quickly would allow us to develop world-leading infrastructure that is fit for the future. Delay will only make the problems worse.”  He expressed his disappointment with the government’s failure to implement mandatory adaptation reporting. However, NAP3 now obligates the government to conduct a review by 2024/25 to determine whether reporting should be made mandatory.

Richards emphasized that the government’s decision was hindering the UK’s capacity to identify the infrastructure most vulnerable to risks and the necessary measures to be implemented. He reiterated the ICE’s strong recommendation to enforce mandatory adaptation reporting for all infrastructure owners and operators. She emphasized the need for a more urgent and ambitious approach to effectively tackle the challenges posed by extreme heat waves.

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Addressing the UKs Lack of Urgency in Climate Adaptation

Louise Hutchins, UKGBC head of policy and public affairs has revealed something very important. She said: “an important step forward”, it needed to be more “urgent and ambitious”to adapt to extreme heat waves.

“That nationwide approach to adapt our homes and workplaces is largely missing,” she added.  “We need a national effort to install measures like shutters, insulation, reflective paint, and water-efficient fixtures and fittings in our homes and buildings and shady trees and green spaces in our neighborhoods.”

She stated that the government presently possesses a remarkable opportunity to harmonize the planning system with climate objectives by embracing the amendments supported by UKGBC in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.

 One notable update is the establishment of a ‘Climate Resilience Board’, comprising esteemed government officials, who will assume the responsibility of overseeing climate-related issues across various governmental sectors. This board will play a pivotal role in ensuring our nation’s preparedness for the challenges posed by climate change.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.