Online resource is an information hub to help businesses, planners and others cope with environmental impact

Climate change minister Joan Ruddock has launched an information hub to help businesses, planners and others adapt to climate change.

The Adapting to Climate Change website is a one-stop shop offering easy access to a comprehensive collection of resources to cope with environmental impact.

The website includes details of how the climate will alter, links to practical tools for adaptation, and examples of what is already being done around the country.

Ruddock called on organisations across the public and private sector to develop imaginative and innovative approaches to deal with the impact of a changing climate.

She said: "We'll need good design that works with the environment rather than against it, creating buildings that stay cool in the heat and deal with water that will be in short supply in summer and pouring into the drains during heavy storms. This one stop shop will help people to identify the challenges we will face in the future and to make the decisions now that will help us to manage them.

"We are already starting to see some visionary climate-resistant buildings around Britain. I want builders and designers to follow the lead of the innovators behind these buildings by factoring a changing climate into their plans."

The site is linked to the UK Climate Impacts Programme, the Environment Agency and others who are working on adapting to climate change, and will be updated regularly to reflect the latest information and advice.

Adaptation successes

Planners adapting: Vale Street

The London and Quadrant Housing Trust has announced the first homes in London to be delivered to Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes.

Vale Street is an urban residential scheme that has selected building materials and used construction methods that mean the homes will retain warmth in the winter and yet remain cool in the summer.

The scheme aims to reduce the energy demand of homes through mechanical heat recovery and super insulating the building fabric.

Measures include utilisinggreen roofs which benefit biodiversity and keep buildings cooler; and the buildings are orientated towards the open aspects of the site, reflecting the need for solar shading and passive solar heating.

Education adapting: Charter School

In 1999 architect Penoyre and Prasad were asked to refurbish the buildings of the Charter School in London. The firm noticed that the main block had one long expanse facing south west, getting the sun all day long, and one faced north east, and got none at all.

The sides were treated in the same way - this meant the students could be cold on one side and warm on the other.

The architect took off the single-glazing around the whole building and put a modern cladding of glass, ventilation louvers and aluminium panels. In the entrance all, there are now clear pipes running down from the rainwater harvesting system on the roof, so the children can see how much water they have collected that week.

Environment agency project: Thames Estuary 2100

The Thames Estuary 2100 is an environment agency project to develop a tidal flood risk management plan for the Thames Estuary though to the end of the century.

Using the latest climate change scenarios and models, and taking account of future sea level rise, the final plan will recommend what flood risk management measures will be required in the Estuary, where they will be needed and when over the coming century.

The final plan will also be flexible to ensure that it can be adaptable to sea levels rising faster, or storm surges become more intense than anticipated.