As UK breaks heat records, CCC says key infrastructure providers failing to take account of climate risks

Mon 11 July 2022 View all news

Maximum and minimum temperature records were broken across the UK on July 19th with Coningsby in Lincolnshire recording 40.3 degrees Celsius, fully 1.6 degrees higher than the previous record set in 2019. Reflecting on the extreme heat, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) says that many of the UK's critical infrastructure providers (including transport) are failing to take account of climate-related risks.

A new independent report by the CCC for the UK Government, assesses submissions from 90 organisations on the actions they are taking to tackle climate-related risks to their operations.

Respondents included National Grid, Network Rail, Highways England, the Environment Agency, London Heathrow Airport, UK Power Networks and Thames Water, amongst others.

Baroness Brown, Chair of the CCC’s Adaptation Committee said: “Climate change poses a catalogue of risks to UK infrastructure. In this report we’ve uncovered a key gap in the country’s national adaptation planning: to varying degrees the organisations we have assessed are not prepared for cascading infrastructure failures. For example, a flood might damage an electricity substation which has a knock-on effect on the transport network due to a power outage.

"These dependencies, if disrupted, have potentially devastating consequences. The Government needs to help reporting organisations better understand and manage these risks. Prudent planning today can help avoid a domino-effect of failures in the future.”

Following the publication of its annual report to Parliament, the CCC has also published a new Monitoring Framework which sets out an updated approach to tracking UK progress on climate change. With the UK, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all having ambitious targets to reduce emissions, the Committee says that the priority is to deliver against these targets. This shift in focus, from ambition to delivery, is the basis for the new Framework.

The Committee says that the Framework will evolve and will be updated over time, including as targets change, when new data becomes available, and after major Government decarbonisation strategies. 


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