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Last update:Sep 13, 2018

Item Status Links
National Adaptation Strategy Adopted
Action plans Adopted
Impacts, vulnerability and adaptation assessments Climate Projections produced, follow-up currently being developed. First UK CCRA completed, second currently being undertaken.
Research programs - National Programmes - Key research initiatives (added value) Currently being undertaken
Climate services / Met Office Established
Web Portal(s) / Adaptation platform(s) Online/Being developed
Monitoring, Indicators, Methodologies Developed through ongoing work of the ASC
Training and education resources Range of tools and products produced by the Climate Ready Support Service Linked to under “Engaging Stakeholders”
National Communication to the UNFCCC Last National Communication Submitted

Responsibility for climate change adaptation is split between the four countries of the United Kingdom, with national governments in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland responsible for adaptation in all devolved policy areas. Her Majesty's Government (HMG) is responsible for adaptation in England and reserved matters[1] for the UK. In some initiatives, a UK-wide approach has been adopted.

The Climate Change Act 2008 created a framework for building the UK's ability to adapt to climate change, by establishing:

  • That a UK-wide Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) must take place every five years;
  • That a UK National Adaptation Programme (NAP) must be put in place to address the most pressing climate change risks and reviewed following each CCRA;
  • A mandate giving HMG and the Welsh Government the power to require public authorities and statutory undertakers to report on how they assess and address the risks of climate change to their work;
  • The duty of HMG to publish a strategy outlining how this new power will be used, and the option to provide guidance on what reporting authorities need to do; and
  • The Adaptation Sub-Committee (ASC) of the independent Committee on Climate Change to assess progress on the government's climate change adaptation programme. Their role includes advising on the CCRA and evaluating the NAP.


England and Reserved Matters

Whilst adaptation is embedded within key policy areas across UK government, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) co-ordinates the UK government's work on adaptation in England, and throughout the UK on a number of reserved matters including cross-cutting action required under the Act. Some reserved matters, such as defence, are primarily addressed independently of this coordination.

On 1st July 2013 the first NAP describing the programme covering England and a range of reserved matters was laid before Parliament. The over-arching aim of the NAP is to shape a society which makes timely far-sighted and well-informed decisions to address the risks and opportunities posed by a changing climate. The NAP sets out actions that leading businesses, councils and communities, as well as government, are taking to tackle climate threats and take advantage of new opportunities. The second NAP is expected in 2018.


The Climate Change Act requires Welsh Ministers to lay from time to time a report before the National Assembly for Wales on the objectives, actions and future priorities of Welsh Ministers around the impact of climate change.

Wales has recently strengthened the legislative requirements to build resilience in Wales to the impacts of climate change through the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and Environment (Wales) Act 2016. The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act is about improving the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales and puts in place seven well-being goals which show the kind of Wales we want to see.  Climate change is integral to all of the Well-being Goals under the Act with specific reference to the Resilient Wales Goal, which includes resilience to the effects of climate change. Public bodies in Wales will need to show how they are working towards these goals taking into account the latest climate risks.

Northern Ireland

The Climate Change Act requires Northern Ireland Departments to prepare an adaptation programme to address the climate change risks to Northern Ireland, as soon as reasonably practicable after the laying before Parliament of the CCRA, and to review them every five years. Reports on the adaptation programme and subsequent progress are required to be made to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The first Northern Ireland Climate Change Adaptation Programme (NICCAP) was laid before the Assembly in January 2014. It contains the Government's response to the risks and opportunities identified in the CCRA for Northern Ireland published as part of the UK CCRA. It provides strategic objectives, proposals and policies by which each department will meet these objectives, and associated timescales.


The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 requires the Scottish Government to develop an Adaptation Programme to address the risks identified for Scotland in the CCRA. Scotland's first statutory Climate Change Adaptation Programme (SCCAP, May 2014) aims to increase the resilience of Scotland's people, environment and economy to the impacts of climate change. Legislation was brought into force in November 2015, requiring listed public bodies to annually report on compliance with the climate change duties. This obligation encourages reporting on mitigation, adaptation and sustainability activity and progress.


[1] The UK Parliament transferred ("Devolved") a range of issues to the Welsh Government, Northern Ireland and Scotland, including the environment, transport and health. Matters which have not been transferred to the nations and remain the responsibility of the UK Parliament are referred to as "Reserved Matters" (the Northern Ireland Act 1998 also refers to Excepted Matters ). Matters which are UK-wide ("Reserved") include national security and defence, insurance, aspects of the infrastructure/energy network, and food/energy supply.


England and reserved matters

The 2013 NAP is split between 6 thematic chapters on the Built Environment, Infrastructure, Healthy and Resilient Communities, Agriculture and Forestry, the Natural Environment and Business. There is a seventh cross cutting chapter on Local Government while considerations such as flooding and water scarcity are considered throughout the various chapters.  Policies, initiatives and actions to support adaptation for each theme are outlined in each NAP chapter.


The Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme (SCCAP) is structured around an overarching aim to increase the resilience of Scotland's people, environment and economy to the impacts of a changing climate. It comprises three themes:

  • Climate Ready Natural Environment -  a Scotland with a productive, healthy and diverse natural environment which is able to adapt to change
  • Climate Ready Buildings and Infrastructure Networks – a Scotland with well- managed, resilient infrastructure and buildings providing access to necessary amenities and services; and
  • Climate Ready Society – a Scotland with strong, healthy resilient communities which are well informed and prepared for a changing climate.


The Sectoral Adaptation Plans are the principal mechanism through which the Welsh Government seeks to deliver climate resilience in our sector's aims and objectives for the coming century. The Welsh Government has produced guidance, tools and resources for the sectors.

Sectoral Adaptation Plans will be developed in the following five sectors:

  • Natural Environment
  • Infrastructure
  • Health
  • Communities
  • Business and Tourism


Northern Ireland

To take account of cross-cutting issues to the climate change risks and opportunities being brought forward in the NICCAP, four primary areas for action have been identified. These are flooding, water, natural environment and agriculture and forestry. The NICCAP contains a range of actions and activities to address risk in these areas.

a. Observations and projections

The UK’s National Meteorological Service (the Met Office) holds the nation’s weather and climate records. These are summarised in the annual State of the UK Climate report, which provides an accessible, authoritative and up-to-date assessment of UK climate trends, variations and extremes.

The Met Office Hadley Centre (MOHC) Climate Programme provides world-leading climate science and led the production of the current UK Climate Projections (UKCP09). UKCP09 gives projections of future changes to the climate in the UK to the end of this century.

One of the key outputs of the MOHC Climate Programme will be an updated set of UK Climate Projections in 2018 (UKCP18). These will update the UKCP09 projections of climate change over UK land areas and projections of sea-level rise. They will provide greater regional detail, further analysis of both national and global climate risks and more information on potential extremes and impacts of climate change. UKCP18 will support the preparation of the third UK Climate Change Risk Assessment. The new projections will also be an important source of information for UK organisations that need to ensure that their assets and operations are resilient to future climate and weather extremes.

b. Impacts & vulnerability assessments

Based on UKCP09, the first UK CCRA was published in January 2012. It identified over 700 risks and opportunities to the UK from a changing climate over the next century, under three different emissions scenarios and focused on around 100 of them in further detail.

The second UKCCRA will be laid before Parliament in January 2017. It is informed by an underpinning evidence report prepared independently by the ASC and published in July 2016. The evidence report analyses around 60 present-day climate risks and opportunities and current levels of adaptation, and assesses how climate and socio-economic change may alter those risks and opportunities in the 2020s, 2050s and 2080s. The evidence report has taken a policy-focused approach to presenting the results, using the concept of urgency to prioritise the risks and opportunities. It considers where additional action is needed in the next five years, taking into account current and planned policies, and identifies six priority risk areas of flooding, water scarcity, overheating, impacts on natural capital, food security, and pests and diseases.


c. Research

England and Reserved Matters

The NAP recognises the importance of further research to shape UK adaptation activity. Research activity identified in the NAP includes:

The UK Met Office undertakes core research into climate science, observations, projections and impacts in support of practical decision-making. This includes assessments of the potential impact of climate change both globally and regionally.


The Scottish Government is firmly embedding climate change adaptation into the development of a robust evidence base, including £1m annual funding to the ClimateXChange adaptation research programme.

Glasgow Caledonian University have also recently been commissioned to use the Community Earth System Model to develop a national coastal change assessment, which will help inform a range of policy concerns, including coastal erosion and flooding.


The Welsh Government understands the importance of a robust evidence base around the impacts of climate change, and is growing Wales’s research capacity and creating networks which bring together industry, academia and government. The £50m Ser Cymru initiative to develop Wales’ research capability has established research chairs and national research networks including the National Research Network for Low Carbon Energy & Environment (NRN – LCEE), which brings together five of our universities, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, the British Geological Survey Wales, and the UK Met Office. A key theme of the research network focuses around the impacts of climate change focusing specifically on coastline and agriculture ecosystem resilience.

d. Monitoring progress

Work is carried out across government to track the implementation of the first NAP report on a regular basis. Additionally the ASC has a statutory duty to assess the progress in implementing the NAP, reporting to Parliament in June 2015 and every two years thereafter. The ASC assesses all actions in the NAP report, including those for councils and other local public bodies, business, and civil society as well as central government.

The ASC’s first report to UK Parliament on the implementation of the NAP  was published in June 2015. The government’s response to the assessment was published in October 2015.


The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 requires Scottish Ministers to provide an annual report on progress towards achieving the objectives and implementing the proposals and policies set out in the Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme (SCCAP). The first annual report was published in May 2015 and the second in May 2016.

The Act establishes the requirement for the relevant body (ASC) to independently assess the Scottish Government's progress towards meeting the objectives in the SCCAP. The first independent report was published in September 2016.


Under the Climate Change Act there are provisions to report on progress in relation to climate change which is set out in the Welsh Government's Annual Report along with a summary of the actions taken. This reporting requirement has been strengthened through the Well-being of Future Generations Act, where all public bodies will need to set out how they are working towards the well-being goals including the Resilient Wales Goal.

The Act also has established a Future Generations Commissioner for Wales’ who has a specific remit around providing advice or assistance on climate change to public bodies, including the Welsh Government.


Northern Ireland

The Cross Departmental Working Group on Climate Change (CDWG CC) provides an annual report to the NI Executive which contains an update on Government progress of the actions and activities identified in the NI Climate Change Adaptation Programme.

a. Governance

England and Reserved Matters

The Domestic Adaptation Board, chaired by Defra, oversees cross-Government action and has members from most government departments, the Devolved Administrations and the Environment Agency (EA).

The NAP was developed in close collaboration with around 270 stakeholder organisations.

Climate UK is a sub-national network of climate change partnerships covering the UK. It aims to share knowledge and learn about tackling the consequences of climate change in the UK.

The Local Adaptation Advisory Panel for England provides a forum to champion adaptation activity across local government, identifying best practice for adaptation at the local level.


Lead devolved responsibility for climate change policy in Scotland rests with the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform. A Cabinet sub-committee on climate change ensures that delivery is coordinated across portfolios and that climate change considerations are reflected at the very highest level of the Scottish Government. Sniffer, a third sector organisation, delivers the Adaptation Scotland Programme offering free access to the best quality data on climate trends and access to tools, guidance and advice on adaptation.  ClimateXChange, Scotland's Centre of Expertise on Climate Change provides a programme of research projects to support adaptation decision-making across sectors in Scotland.


The Well-being of Future Generations Act has established a Future Generations Commissioner for Wales’ who has a specific remit around providing advice or assistance on climate change to public bodies, including the Welsh Government. The Commissioner and her office will play a central role in developing and enabling actions in the Public Sector throughout Wales. A number of other stakeholder groups have been developed in different sectors.

Northern Ireland

The Climate Change Unit in the Department of Environment is responsible for the co-ordination of the cross Departmental work on adaptation. It leads on development, implementation and monitoring of the NI Climate Change Adaptation Programme, though responsibility is shared with all government departments. 

Climate NI is a partnership of external stakeholders from a range of key sectors who provide advice and support to Government with the aim of increasing the understanding of the impacts of climate change, sharing best practice and promoting action to address the impacts of climate change. 

b. Adaptation capacity, dissemination, education, training

England and Reserved Matters

Until the end of March 2016, UK Government funded its Environment Agency to provide a Climate Ready Support Service (CRSS) for England which supported organisations in adapting to climate change. By 2016 the majority of NAP actions to which the CRSS Service was contributing were either complete or ongoing without the need for support from the service. The CRSS produced or supported a range of tools and products to help organisations in preparing for climate change. These include:




Natural England and the RSPB, in partnership with the CRSS and the Forestry Commission published the ‘Climate change adaptation manual: evidence to support nature conservation in a changing climate' to support conservation practitioners in adapting to climate change. 

UK Government supported LWEC to develop Climate Change Impact Report Cards. There are report cards on Biodiversity, Water, Agriculture & Forestry, Health and Infrastructure, with more in development. The cards provide a summary of the latest scientific research on the impacts of climate change on the UK. This work is now taken forward by LWEC’s successor, the Research and Innovation for our Dynamic Environment (RIDE) Forum.


Adaptation Scotland offers free access to the best quality data on climate trends and their impacts in Scotland as well as access to tools, guidance and advice on adapting to the impacts. Adaptation Scotland provide the latest information to support adaptation planning and action, including past climate trends and future climate projections:


  • An accessible and visually engaging climate trends online tool.
  • Adaptation visuals to show climate change adaptation measures for a range of Scottish landscapes.
  • Case studies of good practice in Scottish adaptation on Adaptation Scotland website and on the international portal WEAdapt.
  • Training resources for Strategic Development Planning Authorities to identify opportunities to include adaptation within strategic development plans.
  • A ‘climate risk management plan' template providing businesses with a simple, streamlined approach to assessing and managing their climate risks.
  • Public sector guidance on Five steps to managing your climate risks , giving the public sector a standard approach for adaptation planning and reporting.
  • Online resources for communities including climate story films and workshop materials which help communities start to identify local climate change impacts and actions that they can take to build resilience.


The Welsh Government's Knowledge Transfer Programme is a key exchange process between the Welsh Government and its key stakeholders in Wales. It aims to build resilience against the impacts of climate change through the exchange of knowledge, skills and resources, whilst understanding stakeholder's needs and requirements to enable effective action against the impacts of climate change. 

The programme has focused on how to embed adaptation within organisations and developing tools and resources to help sectors and organisations adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Northern Ireland

The Climate Change Unit in the Department of Environment works with Climate NI to build adaptation capacity through information dissemination workshops and seminars.

Her Majesty's Government

Defra, Climate Change Adaptation Team

Welsh Government

Climate Change Team


Northern Ireland Executive

Climate Change Unit, Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs

Climate Northern Ireland


Scottish Government

Directorate for Energy and Climate Change – Climate Change  

Adaptation Scotland
The information presented in these pages is based on the reporting according to the Monitoring Mechanism Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 525/2013) and updates by the EEA member countries