ICE and UKGBC criticise government’s lack of ambition in its National Adaptation Programme

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has criticised the government’s plan to adapt the UK’s infrastructure to the impacts of climate change. 

On Monday, the government published its third National Adaptation Programme (NAP3), a 140-page report outlining how departments will act to adapt the UK’s homes, buildings and natural environment to deal with extreme weather. 


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The ICE wants mandatory adaptation reporting for infrastructure owner and operators

It includes commitments to review the regulation of infrastructure, a tripling of adaptation funding to £1.5bn and the development of a new UK Health Security Agency Adverse Weather and Health Plan that builds on existing health alerting systems. 

But it has come under criticism for its lack of ambition, including from the ICE’s director of policy, Chris Richards, who said the plan’s “overall lack of urgency” was “deeply concerning”. 

He said: “Almost exactly a year on from the hottest day ever recorded in England, while record breaking heat and wildfires dominate headlines around the world, the impact of climate change is not some far-off threat. It is happening now. 

“The UK needs to ramp up its adaptation measures. To do that, we need to understand what infrastructure is most at risk.  

“Acting quickly would give us the opportunity to develop world-leading infrastructure that is fit for the future. Delay will only make the problems worse.” 

>>Also read: Infrastructure investments worth £650bn at risk if climate resilience neglected 

He highlighted the government’s failure to introduce mandatory adaptation reporting as a particular disappointment.  

NAP3 instead commits the government to a review into whether reporting should be mandatory by 2024/25. 

Richards said the government was “postponing the UK’s ability to determine what infrastructure is most at risk and what actions need to be taken” and re-iterated the ICE’s call to make adaptation reporting mandatory for all infrastructure owners and operators

Louise Hutchins, UKGBC head of policy and public affairs, said that while the latest NAP was “an important step forward”, it needed to be more “urgent and ambitious” to adapt to extreme heatwaves. 

“That nationwide approach to adapt our homes and workplaces is largely missing,” she added.  

“We need a national effort to install measures like shutters, insulation, reflective paint, and water-efficient fixtures and fittings in our homes and buildings and shady trees and green spaces in our neighbourhoods.” 

She said the government currently had an “open goal” to align the planning system with climate goals by accepting UKGBC-backed amendments to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.