Group says national initiative published last year does not meet urgency of issue

The government’s latest programme for adaptation to climate change “falls far short of what is required”, according to the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

Published last July, the third National Adaptation Programme (NAP3) was criticised at the time by infrastructure bodies for lacking “urgency”.

The 140-page report outlines how government departments would adapt UK buildings and infrastructure to extreme weather and included commitments to review regulation and a tripling of adaptation funding to £1.5bn.


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The government is not doing enough on the issue of climate change, the committee said

But in its response to NAP3, published this week, the CCC said that the programme was largely based on existing policy or mechanisms and that less than half of the short-term actions to address risks identified in the last Climate Change Risk Assessment were being progressed.

The non-departmental public body, set up in 2008 to advise the government, previously suggested that additional annual investment of up to £10bn for climate adaptation could be needed this decade.

“Over three iterations of the NAP, Defra [the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] has failed to make adaptation a top priority within the department or in other central government departments, despite the growing evidence of climate impacts,” the CCC said.

“It is still not sufficiently well-understood or resourced, particularly in local government. The present approach of coordination by Defra is not working.

“Effective cross-government collaboration is needed to ensure all departments are engaged with adaptation and recognise the challenges that climate impacts can have across multiple sectors at any one time.”

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The group added that NAP3 did not tackle barriers to investment and that inadequate monitoring and evaluation made a proper assessment of progress impossible.

“The evidence of the damage from climate change has never been clearer, but the UK’s current approach to adaptation is not working,” said Baroness Brown, chair of the CCC’s adaptation committee.

“Defra needs to deliver an immediate strengthening of the government’s programme, with an overhaul of its integration with other government priorities such as Net Zero and nature restoration. We cannot wait another five years for only incremental improvement.”