Departments to set up cross-government Climate Resilience Board

Board will oversee cross-cutting climate adaptation and resilience issues
Critically high river waters flowing through Bewdly Bridge, with flood defence barriers in place. Photo: Adobe Stock

By Tevye Markson

07 Aug 2023

The government is setting up a Climate Resilience Board to steer cross-government climate change adaptation action.

The board, which is being established by the Cabinet Office, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and HM Treasury, will “oversee strategic, cross-cutting climate adaptation and resilience issues and drive further government action to increase UK resilience to climate change”, the government has said.

The plan has been announced in the government’s newly-published Third National Adaptation Programme and the board is expected to meet for the first time this autumn.

The board “will work closely with existing cross-government climate governance, aligning climate adaptation to wider government priorities on net zero and the environment,” according to the plan.

“At ministerial level, this work will continue to be considered, as required, by the relevant Cabinet Committees,” the document states.

Speaking to CSW  Richard Millar,  head of adaptation at the Climate Change Committee,government’s independent advisers on climate change, said the board was “potentially an interesting development” but would need to be more than “another talking shop”.

“These initiatives have existed at some levels across government over recent years – the Cabinet climate committees for instance – that never really cut through,” he said.

“So a lot of this is probably how those bodies are set up, their terms of reference and how they can be successful in really making them genuinely useful forums and not just another talking shop on this. I think the proof [will be] in the pudding. But I think it’s good that they are thinking about trying new structures on the governance side, because I think that is necessary.”

The CCC criticised the lack of clear responsibilities and mechanisms for cross-government collaboration in a report in March which warned that NAP3 would be “a make-or-break moment to avoid a further five years of lacklustre planning and preparation”.

A government spokesperson said: “We are committed to taking clear and decisive action to maintain our country’s resilience to the impacts of a changing climate.

“The new Climate Resilience Board will help deliver this, providing senior oversight and strategic direction on the government’s work to address climate risks to the UK. We are in the process of establishing the Board, which is expected to meet for the first time in the autumn.”

Keep an eye out for CSW’s autumn issue, out in September, which will include an in-depth look at the government’s progress in adapting to climate change and building resilience, with input from Millar and other experts.  You can sign up here to receive a print copy of the issue. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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