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22 Mar 2024 < Back

Members' role in climate resilience

Regardless of the activity we are undertaking for members, our conversation always comes back to climate change. Although from the outside, it may not seem that the sectors we represent are impacted by climate change, the opposite is the case. 

Current climate change impacts

Regardless of whether the UK and other nations meet the targets set out in the Paris Climate Agreement, we are already seeing the impacts of climate change on the way we live. According to an article by Friends of the Earth (2023), the UK is now 7% wetter than it used to be, with sea levels having risen by 1.6cm.

All of the UK’s warmest weathers on record have occurred since 2002, with the Met Office (2024) predicting that UK winters will become wetter and warmer on average and summers hotter and drier. This will however be interspersed with cold and dry winters and by 2050, heatwaves every other year.

What climate change means for the industry

For the wetter periods, homes which were not previously in flood risk areas could be soon, with a NASA tool earlier this year highlighting that parts of London could be underwater by 2030. Where new buildings are not currently in flood risk zones, but could be in future, considering structural waterproofing and flood resilience measures at the outset, will ensure the property is as robust as possible, without the need for future retrofit.

For the change in atmospheric conditions, we will need our buildings to adapt to the changing seasons. The variable conditions will not make this easy. As we retrofit our homes to insulate and maintain heat during the winters, we must ensure there is adequate ventilation to provide a route for moisture to escape to prevent damp and mould growth. 

Actions we have taken

Earlier this week I wrote to the Chair of the Adaptation Committee, part of the Climate Change Committee, which advises the UK governments on emissions targets and responding to climate change. 

In my letter to Baroness Brown, I highlighted the need for climate adaptation to take place in tandem with climate reduction measures. Our members are ideally placed to ensure new and existing buildings are able to perform effectively, regardless of the weather. However to effectively deliver this, we need to ensure that the planning rules governing the built environment consider future climate conditions when building or updating a property.

Letter to Baroness Brown

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