Wednesday, February 08, 2012

UK Climate Change Risk Assessment shows the East of England needs to adapt

From: Cambridge Network

A ground-breaking study into the implications of climate change, and the threats the country faces, has revealed that the key priorities for the East of England include responding to water availability, flooding and sea level rise.

The UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) 2012 highlights the top 100 challenges to the country and our economy, and provides the most compelling evidence yet of the need to increase our resilience. 

The research also confirms the UK as a world-leader in understanding climate risk to ensure we can make robust plans to deal with these threats.  It provides underpinning evidence that can be used by the Government to help inform priorities for action and appropriate adaptation measures.

Drawing on information within the CCRA and other local evidence, the analysis illustrates what climate change may mean for people, businesses, community and charitable groups, local authorities, and other organisations across key sectors, at the local level. It also highlights where there is a strong case for greater local action.

Speaking at the launch of the CCRA, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said:  “This world class research provides the most comprehensive case yet on why we need to take action to adapt the UK and our economy to the impacts of climate change. It shows what life could be like if we stopped our preparations now, and the consequences such a decision would mean for our economic stability.

“The Climate Change Risk Assessment will be vital in helping us to understand what we need to do to stop these threats becoming a reality. In doing so there is also great potential for growth through UK firms developing innovative products and services tailored to meet the global climate challenges.”

Within the East of England, John Devall, Water Operations Director for Essex & Suffolk Water said: “It is vital for businesses to include climate change adaptation in their business planning processes to ensure a sustainable future. Our project for the development of the Abberton Reservoir in Essex, provides an example of adapting an existing asset to secure water supplies for the future whilst protecting and enhancing the natural environment.”

To respond to the adaptation challenge organisations in the private, public and academic sector in the East of England are collaborating in a network to share information and provide support in order to provide effective and efficient solutions for climate change adaptation.

Dr Aled Jones, Director of Anglia Ruskin University’s Global Sustainability Institute, commented: “The need for organisations, both public and private, to work together has been made ever more apparent with the release of the Climate Change Risk Assessment. As highlighted in the East of England summary report our region is already at risk of water scarcity and flooding and this will only get worse with the impact of climate change, coupled with an increasing demand from development and population growth. For example, 25% of all properties in Norfolk are at risk of flooding and almost 50% of water catchment areas are already over abstracted or over licensed at times of low flow”.

Notes

The National Adaptation Programme (NAP) - The NAP will set out what policies and actions are needed to take action on the risks (and opportunities) from climate change. Defra aim to co-create this with involvement from all relevant stakeholders, and to ensure a strong local component.

A key part of this will be informed by the 'Call for Views' which means individuals, businesses, local authorities, community, charitable or voluntary organisations can tell Defra:

o how climate risks affect us;

o the most urgent areas for action;

o what action is already underway to address risks;

o the key barriers to addressing risks;

o of new or innovative actions or opportunities for addressing risks.

·         Full details of the UKCCRA can be downloaded at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/climate/government/risk-assessment/

·         Regional Packs produced to coincide with the publication of the UKCCRA and local  case studies are available at: http://www.sustainabilityeast.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=128:uk-climate-change-risk-assessment&catid=5:latest-news&Itemid=9

·         Sustainability East is an independent not for profit social enterprise based in Cambridge, which facilitates collaborative activity on climate change and sustainability in the East of England. Sustainability East focuses upon creating responses that are proportionate to the rate and scale of change ahead and encourages a consistent approach, challenging assumptions in order to help organisations make informed and considered decisions.

·          John Devall is Water Operations Director for Essex & Suffolk Water, which is a part of Northumbrian Water Ltd (NWL). He is responsible for the supply of drinking water to 4.4 million people as well as the long term water resource planning and demand management activities of NWL.

·         Anglia Ruskin University’s Global Sustainability Institute (GSI) plays a critical role in allying academic disciplines from across the university together with business and governments. This new research institute focuses its efforts in understanding personal motivations and systems change.

·         In partnership with Anglia Ruskin University’s Global Sustainability Institute (GSI), Sustainability East facilitates a network of stakeholders working on the climate change adaptation agenda. The network aims to develop a robust adaptation pathway and construct a strong narrative on adaptation for the East of England. This work will strategically link to the National Adaptation Programme work of Defra and the Environment Agency. Further details on the East of England Adaptation Network can be found at www.sustainabilityeast.org.uk

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For more information please contact:

Sustainability East: Carly Leonard on t: 01223 361215, e: carlyleonard@sustainabilityeast.org.uk

Anglia Ruskin University:  Andrea Hilliard on t: 0845 196 4727, e: andrea.hilliard@anglia.ac.uk

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