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National Adaptation Programme/Strategy for the Adaptation Reporting Power

Volume 565: debated on Monday 1 July 2013

I wish to inform the House that I have today laid in Parliament both a report on the “National Adaptation Programme” and the “Strategy for the Adaptation Reporting Power”.

National Adaptation Programme

Recent extreme weather in Britain, such as the flooding last year, has brought into sharp relief just how important anticipating and managing weather extremes can be. In the case of flooding, the costs of rebuilding can run in to hundreds of millions of pounds. Essential public services such as schools and hospitals can be heavily disrupted and business—particularly small businesses—can be hit severely. Extreme weather abroad also affects us at home. For example, harvest failures abroad can push up food prices here.

The Climate Change Act 2008 requires the Government to undertake a climate change risk assessment, followed by the publication of a national adaptation programme. In January 2012 the Government published the “Climate Change Risk Assessment” (CCRA). This brought together the best available evidence, using a consistent framework to identify the main risks and opportunities related to climate change. The Government’s response to the CCRA is the first National Adaptation Programme (NAP).

The report on the National Adaptation Programme I am publishing today sets out the progress we have achieved through the programme and describes what the Government consider to be the most urgent areas for action structured around seven themes: built environment, infrastructure, healthy and resilient communities, agriculture and forestry, natural environment and business. The themes address a range of different types of risk. These include: flooding, water availability, extreme weather events and heat waves.

However, the Government cannot act alone. That is why I am delighted that we have worked so closely with so many experts from outside Government—from industry, from local government and from civil society and the report describes action by the Government and these other organisations. All the actions agreed so far are listed in a section of the report called the “Register of Adaptation Actions”. These preparations, based on the best evidence and a spirit of partnership, will help avoid costs and damage and so support the growth of a stronger and more balanced economy.

The National Adaptation Programme is primarily for England but also covers reserved, excepted and non-devolved matters. The individual devolved Administrations are developing their own programmes and the Government are working with them on areas of common interest to ensure a consistent approach in the shape and focus of all the programmes.

Strategy for the Adaptation Reporting Power

The Adaptation Reporting Power was introduced under the Climate Change Act and aims to:

ensure climate change risk management is systematically undertaken by reporting authorities;

help ensure public services and infrastructure are resilient to climate change;

monitor the level of preparedness of key sectors to climate change.

Following consultation, the strategy I am publishing today sets out a voluntary approach for the second round of reporting. I will invite those organisations which took part in the first round of adaptation reporting to provide progress updates on the actions that they set out in their reports to Government. These organisations are primarily from the energy, water and transport sectors. I will also invite a small number of organisations to report for the first time on their assessment of the current and predicted risks and opportunities from climate change to their functions, as well as their proposals and policies for adapting to climate change. I am not intending to issue directions to organisations to report under the second round of the adaptation reporting power.

I am placing these documents in the Libraries of both Houses. They will also be published on: