According to local government think tank Localis, England needs to deploy a Local Resilience Act to make provisions for the worsening effects of climate change.
A Local Resilience Act would make constituencies duty-bound to protect their areas from the dangers of extreme weather by providing better environmental adaptation measures.
The new law would include changes to transport, buildings, local businesses, land use and biodiversity. The Act would also need to give councils the powers and funding for delivery, the think tank said.
A Local Resilience Act could streamline the existing legislation to allow climate change and resilience adaptation to take place at the local level – the level most able to mitigate the risks of dangerous weather changes.
Jonathan Werran, chief executive of Localis commented: “Even under the most minimal of warming scenarios, infrastructure, public health, and GDP will all worsen due to the weighty pressure of extreme weather events. Different areas are undergoing their own unique changes, and specialised adaptation is necessary.
“Failure to fund whole place resilience is folly. The prolonged breakdown of infrastructure and the sustained inability of our built environment to withstand extreme weather will cost the nation far more further down the line – perhaps to the point where it will threaten to undermine economic growth and social stability.”
Localis head of research Joe Fyans said: “If action is not taken, the UK might see damages of up to 7.4% reduction of its potential GDP by the end of the century, alongside devastating shocks to its agricultural sector and to the health of its population. However, with suitable upstream mitigation and preventative measures in place, that figure would drop to a predicted 2.4%.”
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