National Trust commissioned research finds UK underprepared for climate change

AHEAD of the Government’s new National Adaptation Programme, which will set the government’s climate adaptation agenda for the next five years, the National Trust has shared new research that shows that the UK is “lagging behind” in preparedness for climate change.

The research, which was carried out by policy and research consultancy Public First, aims to understand what policy changes are needed to ensure the government prioritises climate adaptation, as it has for mitigation following the 2019 net zero pledge. It found that the UK is currently unprepared for the impacts of climate change.

The National Trust (NT) is calling for more ambitious policies to prepare society for climate change to protect the country’s much-loved heritage, landscapes and communities which are under increasing threat from extreme weather events and their consequences for everyday life.

Climate change poses the single biggest threat to the nature-rich landscapes and historic places that NT has been looking after for generations. From coastal change which wipes away undiscovered archaeology to higher temperatures causing greater risk of outdoor fires, its impacts are multiple and serious.

This new research has helped NT assess what these risks mean for their land and properties. It has highlighted where climate change may present some opportunities to think differently, and what actions they need to take to meet the coming changes with confidence.

The Government is expected to release its Third National Adaptation Programme in the coming months. Ahead of this, NT will share the findings of their research with policymakers, urging leaders to be ambitious and make adaptation a national priority that all government – rather than just one department – is engaged with.

As it stands, the UK has no set targets for climate adaptation, unlike mitigation, which is driven by the target to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

The National Trust believes that targets for climate adaptation, or a new policy to put adaptation at the heart of Government, are essential for equipping the UK with the necessary tools to tackle climate change. They say that the new National Adaptation Programme, expected this summer, needs to demonstrate that Government takes climate adaptation as seriously as mitigation.

NT plans to publish a full report on the work they’re doing on their own land and properties to prepare for the impacts of climate change later this year.


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