Showcasing the power of locally tailored adaptation measures. 

How can local authorities implement tailored adaptation measures?

News

Posted By:

Sue Wheat

Press Lead

Local authorities are well aware of climate risk and the need to implement adaptation measures to keep their residents safe. At the launch of their new UK-wide adaptation learning network, Ashden brought local authorities together to share information, learn from each other and listen to a selection of speakers. With 160 attendees, it showed the importance of the subject to local authority climate officers.

As Simon Brammer, Head of Ashden’s Cities team explained at the beginning of the online event, “The UK government’s own climate risk assessment concluded that early adaptation investments are really effective, delivering value for money. 

“When you talk to people about their vision of a resilient town or city, they say the same thing – they want clean air and green and blue spaces that increase physical and mental well-being. They want warm and affordable-to-heat homes and also buildings that stay cool in our ever-increasing hotter summers or have reduced flood risk. They want new opportunities and new skills, better education and fairly paid jobs. 

“They also want cities on a human scale where we can prosper, enjoy ourselves, and engage with our communities and neighbours. And by responding to these desires, we engage people’s values and demonstrate that climate adaptation can deliver positive results for everyone and help councils deliver a raft of non-climate objectives across multiple departments simultaneously.”  

Speakers from the Local Government Association, Hampshire County Council, Thames 21 and Enfield Council in North London, and the Grantham Institute set the scene, making the case for and showcasing the power of locally tailored adaptation measures.

 

LGA: councils are critical for local resilience preparation – but national support is key

In 2023, the LGA commissioned a YouGov opinion poll, the results of which painted a clear picture: 8 out 10 people surveyed were concerned about climate and three quarters want net zero to be delivered by 2050. Half want to bring that date forward. Only 12 per cent thought climate change wouldn’t affect their area. It is clear that while supportive national policies and funding are essential, “the complexity of adapting to our local places has to be delivered locally. It cannot be from Whitehall.”

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Hampshire: The Year of Climate Resilience and beyond

Hampshire County Council is the first, and so far only, council in the country to have set a resilience target alongside its carbon neutral target. 

The council declared 2022 the Year of Climate Resilience, which raised the profile of climate-related thinking within the council. In an effort to make staff aware of adaptation planning and where existing gapss are, they now have e-learning for managers across council departments on the practicalities of mitigation and adaptation measures – from IT to legal services, procurement and communications.

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Flood resilience and nature-based solutions in North London

Nature conservation charity Thames 21 and Enfield Council have been working together on nature-based solutions creating wetlands and reducing flooding impact in the outer London borough. Their impressive partnership, which spans over a decade, was recognised when they became the 2023 Ashden Award winner for the Local Nature Recoverers category. 

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Learning from the Climate Commissions – mitigation and adaptation plans must work in synergy Flood resilience and nature-based solutions in North London

Candice Howarth is Head of Local Climate Action at the Grantham Research Institute but has also been closely involved with the Place-based Climate Action Network (PCAN) – a £3.5m five-year network aimed at translating policy on climate change into action on the ground with a range of local communities. PCAN has observed that adaptation shares many of the same issues as mitigation and the drive towards net zero: limited fit-for-purpose information; weak governance; siloed approaches; lack of knowledge and skills; securing funding.

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