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Climate Change Adaptation Partnership

Climate Change Adaptation Partnership

The Climate Change Adaptation Partnership is responsible for delivering part of outcome 5 and NI 188. It works to co-ordinate Birmingham's preparation for the inevitable impacts of a changing climate.

Chairman: Will Groves, Senior External Relation Officer, Environment Agency

Membership consists of representatives from: Birmingham City Council, the Environment Agency, Government Office for the West Midlands, Groundwork West Midlands, the Forestry Commission, Natural England, Severn Trent Water, Summerfield Residents’ Association, the University of Birmingham and the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country.

Climate change is now widely accepted as one of the greatest challenges we all face. If these challenges are not addressed it has been calculated that the costs to the world’s economy will be greater than the cost of the 20th century’s world wars and the Great Depression combined.

Whilst Birmingham is already taking great steps to reduce its carbon footprint it is equally important to ensure that the city and its residents are prepared for the unavoidable impacts of climate change.

The Challenge

Detailed climate projections scenarios produced by DEFRA show that by 2080 we are likely to see:

  • average summer temperatures increase by 3.7°C/6.66ºF and by up to 10°C/18ºF on the hottest day
  • average summer rainfall reduce by 20%
  • average winter rainfall increase by 18%, and by up to 30% more on the wettest day
In addition to these climate changes, it is expected that the frequency and severity of extreme weather events will increase. The challenge is to assess the risks and opportunities that arise from climate change in Birmingham and develop an action plan that will put in place the necessary measures to protect and prepare us all, as well as capitalise on potential opportunities.
 
Context

To put these projections into a context, the 2003 heatwave which killed 32,000 people across Europe was the equivalent of a 1.8°C rise. This temperature could realistically become the standard average by summer 2050. The temperature on the hottest day could be up to 10°C/18ºF above this, which in addition to the urban heat island effect (where the dense city structure retains excess heat) means that Birmingham could bake in 40°C/104 ºF + temperatures.

The flooding of 2007 which devastated homes in Aston and disrupted transport routes throughout the city is highly likely to become more frequent as storm incidence and severity as well as winter precipitation increase.

Heat retention in the city centre could lead to unbearable temperatures


What is being done?


BeBirmingham's Environmental Partnership in collaboration with Birmingham City Council are increasingly being seen as leaders in the climate change adaptation field.

There are many on-going projects that will ensure Birmingham has a thorough and accurate climate change adaptation strategy: 

  • Birmingham's Climate Portfolio- A report highlighting how Birmingham’s climate will change.
  • LCLIP- A report highlighting extreme weather events in Birmingham
  • GIS risk/vulnerability mapping tool- A GIS map risk assessment tool which will prioritise adaptation to ensure that the most vulnerable residents are safe.
  • Sector specific risk and vulnerability risk assessment- An assessment of risks and opportunities that will arise from climate change.
  • The BUCCANEER - Birmingham Urban Climate Change with Neighbourhood Estimates of Environmental Risk. This is a tool which will demonstrate the effect of climate change on Birmingham’s UHI. The model will tie in with the vulnerability tool (above) to assess where vulnerable residents are most at risk from the UHI.
  • Community consultation- A community event with Birmingham City Council’s Resilience Team provided residents with a chance to highlight their concerns regarding the impacts of climate change and to develop projects to build resilience to extreme weather in our communities.

Community consultation event

 

  • River Cole Surface Water Management Plan (SWMP)- The project aims to develop a SWMP for the River Cole’s catchment area which suffered significant flooding in September 2007 and has had several near misses both before and since. 
  • Green Infrastructure assessment- Green infrastructure has a wide range of benefits in adapting to climate change. The report is available here
Birmingham is also one of twelve demonstration cities from around the world, taking part in an EU/UN funded programme fronted by SWITCH to look at sustainable water management. The programme is currently in the third of five years and will look to implement several pilot projects to assess water management in the final two years.
 
Practical projects such as the Washwood Heath brook clearance aim to prepare areas worst affected by flooding.
 
 Washwood Heath Brook before clean up Washwood Heath Brook after clean up
 
  
Current progress:
 
Although the process of adapting to climate change is still in very early days, it is already beginning to play an increasingly important role in every aspect of how the council operates. The Climate Change Action Plan 2010+ which sets out Birmingham's plans to tackle climate change has been approved by Cabinet.
 
One of the key lessons learnt from these early stages of climate change adaptation is that it is critical to engage service areas, partners and residents to ensure we are all prepared for the inevitable impacts of a changing climate.
 

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REPORTS AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOADING

The links below provide access to reports completed by the West Midlands Climate Change Adaptation Partnership

 

Weathering the Storm - A Guide for Businesses

Best Practice in Adapting Schools

Schools Best Practice

Regional Vulnerability Assessment of Biodiversity Assets to Climate Change

Climate Change & Health Report

West Midlands Adaptation Report - by Martyn Griffiths

Climate Change in the West Midlands - A Framework for Progress

Halcrow Busisness Vulnerability Summary Report 

 

Contact Shelly.Beckett@environment-agency.gov.uk or Julie.fay@environment-agency.gov.uk for more information

 

 

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Climate Change Adaptation Partnership Meeting on 15 July 2010

 

Documents and presentations from the above meeting are available for download below:

Agenda

 

4.0 NI 188 Presentation

7.0 Modelling the 2003 Heatwave in Birmingham

8.1 Aisling Mannion - Green Infrastructure City Centre Planning

8.2 Emily May - Green Infrastructure Evidence Base

      Green Infrastructure Evidence Base Final Report

11.0 Balsall Heath Water Savers

12.0 Summer Poster Campaign

Contact richard.rees@birmingham.gov.uk for more information

 

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