Climate Change Risk Assessment and Adaptation Planning Guidance

May 22, 2023
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The Environment Agency has released guidance on how to effectively integrate climate change risk assessment and adaptation planning into management systems.

The guidance is designed for organisation already operating with management systems under an environmental permit.

The guidance considers the effects of climate change as a whole rather than specific elements due to the wide range of impacts organisations may face such as:

  • Extreme rainfall (leading to more frequent and severe floods)
  • Heat waves
  • Droughts
  • Rise in sea levels and tidal surges
  • Storms
  • Wildfires

The guidance splits the process into six stages, these being:

  • Initial preparation
  • Finding potential impacts
  • Completing a risk assessment
  • Finding control measures
  • Writing your adaption plan
  • Monitoring, recording and reviewing your plan

The guidance starts by highlighting the need to review processes that are already in place regarding the management of climate risks. This should include information about teams and individuals who would be involved.

The amount of preparation work required will depend on the complexity of the organisation.

The guidance states that when considering specific climate impacts on the organisation you should work on a predicted 4 degree increase on base temperature by 2100 and a 2 degree rise by 2050. They also highlight that when considering the potential impacts, risk assessment and control measures the focus should be on issues, potential climate impacts, impacted individuals, impacted environment, sector impacts that are specific to the organisation.

The guidance also explains additional requirements for specific sectors that may have more climate impacts, for example the nuclear sector and those under the scope of COMAH regulations.

The fifth part of the guidance explains how to write an adaptation plan for climate change. This part of the guidance recommends following a specific suitable standard and provides advice on the sort of things that should be considered within the adaptation plan. Like all risk assessments and plans the Environment Agency highlights the need to review and update the plan when deemed necessary by the organisation.

The Environment Agency will periodically inspect or audit climate change risk assessments as part of wider checks on management systems, so it is important to follow the guidance that they provide.

If you have any questions or would like support with managing issues at your workplace, please speak to your usual contact or get in touch using the form below.