Climate Change Adaptation
In the context of climate change, adaptation is about doing all we can to prepare ourselves for the impacts of climate change and managing the risks that it presents.
What is the Council doing to adapt to climate change?
Hampshire County Council has been building expertise, developing knowledge, working in partnership and leading projects on Climate Change Adaptation for many years.
2004: Members’ seminar to raise awareness of climate change issues
2004: HCC signed Aalborg Commitments, pan-European sustainability framework
2006: Full Council agreed vision ‘Within a decade Hampshire will prosper, without risking our environment’ and that climate change posed greatest threat to it.
2007: the Council convened a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) on climate change, chaired by The Leader of the Council. This was tasked with examining how Hampshire can adapt to become more resilient to the impacts of climate change, take advantage of the opportunities there may be, and to identify and prioritise adaptation actions for the County Council. Experts presented evidence to the Commission, the Commission reported findings and recommendations to HCC in November 2007, and a set of actions was agreed and adopted. The CoI continues to convene on a regular basis.
2008: The Hampshire Accord signed by Minister for the SE, Jonathan Shaw, MP formalised cooperation between the Government (DEFRA) and the County Council.
Working with Government
The County Council engage with Government in policy development at a national level to ensure it can easily link to sub-national policy and practical delivery on the ground. Examples include:
- Committee for Climate Change
- Climate Change Risk Assessment (national)
The years of groundwork and capacity building have enabled the County Council, and its district and other public sector partners, to be in a strong position to approach the task of developing an Action Plan in response to climate change.
Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan
Hampshire County Council has taken a lead role in working with other partners to conduct comprehensive risk assessments of services and responsibilities, and to work out how vulnerable these are to the impacts of climate change in the short, medium and long term.
The risk assessments, as well as a number of other sources of information, have been used to develop an Adaptation Action Plan, which includes around 25 strategic actions, and is currently in draft form.
Alexander Ballard Ltd and the County Council worked together to research and develop the Performance Acceleration Climate Tool (PACT) which includes a CD, handbook and toolkit to help assess and improve organisations' capacity to respond to climate change issues. Nine areas or 'pathways' (eg awareness, working together, using expertise) are assessed, to identify which need to be further developed for change to take place. The tool highlights strengths and provides guidance through areas for improvement, and suggests where action needs to be focused to achieve greatest progress.
Risk Assessment Tool
In 2009 the County Council developed a risk assessment spreadsheet tool to help organisations conduct risk assessment of the potential impacts of climate change on their services in the short, medium and long term. The tool has been made available to other organisations via Climate South East, DEFRA and the Local Government Partnership.