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UK Liberal Democrat MP presses government on ICE’s climate adaptation recommendation

04 April 2023

Wera Hobhouse MP has asked the government to assess the merits of mandatory adaptation reporting, as the ICE recently recommended. 

UK Liberal Democrat MP presses government on ICE’s climate adaptation recommendation
Wera Hobhouse MP, UK Liberal Democrat MP for Bath. Image credit: UK Parliament

UK MP Wera Hobhouse has submitted a written parliamentary question echoing ICE recommendations to make the Adaptation Reporting Power (ARP) mandatory for infrastructure owners and operators.

Hobhouse, the Liberal Democrat spokesperson for energy and climate change, tabled her question on 27 March 2023.

What did she say?

Hobhouse asked whether the secretary of state for environment, food, and rural affairs will assess the potential merits of requiring quantitative assessments under the adaptation reporting power.

The response stated:

“The government is consulting on proposals for the fourth round of climate adaptation reporting under the adaptation reporting power. This includes consideration of guidance to support reporting organisations and whether to make reporting voluntary or mandatory... Consultation feedback will inform the final strategy, to be published alongside the third National Adaptation Programme (NAP3) this year.”


Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) minister Trudy Harrison MP responded to Hobhouse’s question on 4 April 2023.

The consultation on plans for the fourth round of adaptation reporting (the ARP4 Strategy) closed on 5 April. Defra is currently analysing responses and will publish the strategy, alongside third National Adaptation Programme (NAP3), later this year.

Why this matters

The government established the ARP under the Climate Change Act 2008 to help understand climate risks and progress in adaptation.

It allows the government to request reports from critical infrastructure providers on the effects of climate change on their operations, their proposals for adapting to them, and progress towards implementation.

Reporting occurs in five-yearly cycles. The previous reporting round concluded in December 2021.

At present, participation from invited organisations is voluntary. In a recent policy position statement, however, the ICE recommended that participation becomes mandatory.

Infrastructure operates as a system of systems. This necessitates a systems-thinking approach to resilience and adaptation.

Making adaptation reporting mandatory will ensure infrastructure owners and operators are taking the appropriate action to improve resilience against the impacts of climate change.

The ICE provides independent policy insight and advice to parliamentarians from all parties on a wide range of infrastructure issues.

We are closely following developments in this area and will continue to reinforce to decision-makers the importance of making the UK’s infrastructure more climate resilient.

  • Ben Gosling, speechwriter and policy content manager at ICE