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Climate Change

Volume 485: debated on Thursday 18 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment his Department has made of its capacity to adapt to climate change; and what plans he has to publish a climate change adaptation strategy. (241177)

Government are working on measures to mitigate climate change, for example in transport we have played a key role in negotiations on new car efficiency standards and worked in Europe to include aviation in the European Emissions Trading Scheme. However, we recognise we must plan to adapt to those changes in climate that are unavoidable and their impacts on Britain’s transport network.

As part of our ‘Delivering a Sustainable Transport System’ strategy, published in November 2008 and on which we are currently consulting, we have included adapting to climate change through investing in programmes and projects that enable us to adapt the transport system over time to anticipated changing demands in the changing climate. Further details are available at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/about/strategy/transportstrategy/dasts/dastsreport.pclf

In July 2008 Government published their response for adapting to the possible impacts of climate change in its adaptation strategy, details of which are available at:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/climatechange/adapt/index.htm

Actions on transport have included:

Working closely with Network Rail in designing methodologies to ensure renewal work incorporates increased resilience and that the network can withstand future climate related events.

Establishing a cross-rail industry forum and commissioning research to identify and address challenges to the railway and produce hazard maps highlighting vulnerable areas,

Completing research on adapting materials and techniques in highway works to the changing climate which will be published, by the Highways Agency, as a guide for local authorities.

The Highways Agency’s assessment of how to manage the risks from climate change to its strategic road network and has already improved drainage and road surface standards to increase resilience.