The government has released its third National Adaptation Programme (NAP3) which details a five-year plan to boost resilience and protect the country against climate change risks.
The programme aims to tackle a range of issues, including safeguarding food supply chains from disruption and sets out an ambitious programme to address key climate change risks, including flooding, drought and heatwaves.
The plan includes commitments to:
- Embed an all-encompassing approach to climate resilience in line with the Government’s Resilience Framework, which sets out commitments to review standards, assurance and regulation of infrastructure sectors, improving the systems and capabilities that underpin our resilience planning.
- Extend support to vulnerable communities worldwide and tripling adaptation funding through official development assistance to £1.5 billion by 2025. This is the first time ever a domestic programme of this type will have a dedicated response to overseas climate risks, including supporting climate vulnerable communities globally.
- Protect lives and wellbeing across the UK, with a new UK Health Security Agency Adverse Weather & Health Plan that builds on existing health alerting systems which will bolster the health system to be better adapted to an increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events.
- Pilot a dedicated Local Authority Climate Service which will provide easy access to localised climate data. This Met Office tool will help local authorities plan adaptation by informing them about hazards such as increased heavy rainfall patterns and extreme heat.
- Ensure a healthy and thriving natural environment through the measures in our landmark Environment Act, Plan for Water and Environmental Land Management Schemes which will all boost biodiversity, protect and restore our peatlands, wetlands and rivers, and the wider natural environment, and improve air quality – helping to meet our Net Zero goals and build resilience.
- Develop capacity and capability for Historic England to model long-term impacts of climate change on cultural heritage caused by increased temperatures, increased rainfall, sea level rise and extreme weather.
- Establish a senior government officials Climate Resilience Board to oversee cross-cutting climate adaptation and resilience issues across government, including preparations for heatwaves, flooding and drought, driving further action to increase UK resilience to climate change.
Environment secretary Thérèse Coffey said: “The UK has decarbonised faster than any other G7 country since 1990 – but the effects of a changing climate are becoming increasingly evident in the UK, as well as on a global scale, through a surge in the frequency and severity of heatwaves, floods, droughts and wildfires.
“By taking action now, through enhancing our infrastructure, promoting a greener economy, and ensuring resilient food production, we can protect our national security, economic stability, and overall resilience in the face of these climate challenges. This robust five-year plan will secure a more resilient, sustainable future for future generations.”
To stay ahead of future threats, a new £15 million joint research initiative led by Defra and UKRI will equip researchers, policy-makers, and practitioners with vital data, skills, and incentives they need to ensure proactive adaptation is happening across all areas of government policy.
Environment Agency chief executive, Philip Duffy said: “The unfolding scale of climate change presents a huge challenge for our environment, society and economy. The Environment Agency’s work on flood risk reduction, water management and nature plays an important role in our national climate resilience. We look forward to working with Government and our partners to deliver the new National Adaptation Programme.”
To ensure a more robust natural environment, Local Nature Recovery Strategies and the Environmental Land Management schemes will support farmers and land managers to prioritise adaptation and help ensure food supply chains respond to climate and other emerging risks, while safeguarding their role as food producers.
The Climate Change Act 2008 (CCA) requires the government to complete a Climate Change Risk Assessment (the CCRA) every five years, followed by a NAP setting out how the government will address the risks identified in the Climate Change Risk Assessment. The government is currently in its third statutory cycle of national risk assessment and adaptation planning under the CCA 2008.