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Warwickshire's climate change adaptation assessment and action plan


In 2019, the Warwickshire County Council adaptation task and finish group used the evidence from a series of workshops with officers to produce an Adaptation Task and Finish Group Report (PDF, 1.1 MB). This process identified the work already being done as well as several risks and possible adaptation responses.

As a result of this report, Cabinet agreed the need to produce an impact assessment for Warwickshire and to require that the impact of projected climate change be used in assessing capital investment options.

Since then, several pieces of work have taken place to fulfil these obligations, including a headline Climate Impacts Assessment (PDF, 555 KB), published in 2021. This identified, at a high level, the nature of current and future projected climate change impacts on the council’s service areas and Warwickshire residents. As a headline study however, this could only ever be the start of our understanding. The next step was to fully define the local risks, establish a set of risk registers and build priority adaptation responses.

Where we are now

We built on these initial assessments with two major pieces of work between 2022 and 2023. They each provide detailed recommendations and a way forward that we will incorporate into our way of working:

1. Responding to the impacts of climate change on Council services

The first piece of work is an Adaptation Planning Report (PDF, 1.7 MB), aimed at improving the resilience of those areas of the council particularly vulnerable to climate change. We piloted the three service areas of flood risk management, the fire and rescue service, and the public health service. Our partner, the UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) used their five-stage decision-making framework called the Adaptation Toolkit.

As a result of this, we now have detailed current and future climate vulnerabilities and have prioritised these risks. Each of these are associated with a raft of adaptation options, which are largely changes in operational process. These will be rolled out progressively according to priority.

The next step is to identify further service areas at risk and using the same toolkit to produce similar options. We also plan to work with our five district and borough councils so that they can build on our experience and roll out the same process across their own service areas.

2. Responding to the impacts of climate change on Warwickshire residents

The second piece of work is a Climate Change Adaptation Plan (PDF, 1.1 MB), which was commissioned from AECOM so that we could identify the risks posed by climate change in Warwickshire now and in the future. It is a much broader assessment of the climate risks and potential responses across the county, based on a medium emissions pathway. As part of this work, it was key for us to understand which priority measures we need to take forward, with whom, and how.

The work had three main phases:

  1. A hazard and climate change analysis identified the historic key impacts and projected these forward based on modelled climate changes. It focused on primary impacts such as flooding, drought, temperature and wind.
  2. We then used these primary impacts to develop a detailed risk assessment across the natural environment, infrastructure, people, the built environment, business and industry.
  3. The final phase was the development of a climate change adaptation framework to provide us with a plan for acting on these risks and improving our resilience. This is based on four action themes and is linked to the risk assessment.

We will now be using this valuable piece of work by taking forward priority actions and mainstream into corporate processes. Much of this revolves around partnership working and we will be putting these in place across our own council and we will convene or link into existing partnerships within Warwickshire and surrounding areas.