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Climate Change

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 50123, tabled on 15 September 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to support those communities most affected by climate change in the UK.

Answered on

20 September 2021

Climate change is already with us, and further changes are expected in the coming decades, despite ambitious commitments from the UK and the global community to cut carbon emissions. Building the resilience of our society, economy and environment to the impacts of climate change is therefore a priority for Government.

Adaptation is a challenge for the whole of society, and is fundamentally place-based. Local authorities and communities have a critical role to play in developing community resilience. The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) in conjunction with Defra's Local Adaptation Advisory Panel, has published adaptation guidance for all local authorities. This good practice guide outlines practical steps for local authorities to enhance local resilience. ADEPT has also published its blueprint to accelerating resilience to climate change risks and green recovery at the local level.

In addition, the Cabinet Office provides Local Resilience Forums with the National Security Risk Assessment and Local Risk Management Guidance to support their work to develop effective local resilience plans and fulfil their statutory duty to conduct local risk assessments.

Defra has made significant progress to protect communities from future flooding and coastal erosion. Last year, the Government published its long-term Policy Statement which sets out our ambition to create a nation more resilient to future flood and coastal erosion risk. The Policy Statement includes five policies and over 40 supporting actions which will accelerate progress to better protect and better prepare the country against flooding and coastal erosion in the face of more frequent extreme weather as a result of climate change.

The Government is making record investment in flood and coastal defences. We have doubled the amount invested in the flood and coastal defence programme in England to £5.2 billion over the next 6 years. This will fund around 2,000 new defence schemes to better protect 336,000 properties.

At the March 2020 Budget, the Government announced a £200 million 'place-based resilience programme', which will run for 6 years from 2021. This will help to inform future approaches to prepare communities for flooding and coastal erosion across the country. Funding will help around 25 local areas to take forward wider innovative actions that improve their resilience to flooding and coastal erosion including natural flood management, property flood resilience and community engagement.

The Government published its latest National Adaptation Programme in 2018, and will publish the next one in 2023, building on this year's advice and evidence from the independent Climate Change Committee. As well as the Defra policies I have mentioned, the Government's programme contains actions from all relevant Government departments and sectors of the economy. For example, MHCLG's Future Buildings Standard consultation recently proposed a new regulation to prevent the health risks of overheating in new buildings. And DHSC is establishing a climate resilience working group to drive adaptation and health protection actions across the health sector.

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