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ICE submission to the UK Department for Transport consultation on climate adaptation

08 July 2024

The UK’s Department for Transport has published a climate adaptation strategy for the transport sector.

The strategy aims to improve adaptation planning and action, and improve climate resilience in the transport system.

The DfT consulted on the strategy in April and May 2024. The ICE’s response highlighted:

  • The scale of the resilience challenge for TIOs (transport infrastructure operators) is huge. There’s a prominent gap in understanding of physical climate risks to our infrastructure.
  • The ICE recommends making adaptation reporting mandatory under the UK Climate Change Act for all infrastructure owners and operators.

    The information collected would fill in existing knowledge and data gaps and help identify the most urgently needed adaptation measures.

  • The government needs to specify exactly how resilient transport infrastructure should be.
  • HM Treasury should lead a thorough economic review of resilience and adaptation.

    By understanding the value of well-adapted transport infrastructure, it will be easier to incentivise evidence-based investment.

  • National Policy Statements should include a list of climate hazards, such as flooding and heatwaves, and define standards of protection.

    It’s welcome that the DfT will consider the adaptation actions needed in relevant planning policy documents, including National Policy Statements and sector-specific guidance from 2024.

  • Digital twin technology can play a key role in stress-testing transport infrastructure, mapping interdependencies, and enhancing knowledge across the sector.
  • The international, ICE-led Enabling Better Infrastructure (EBI) programme could be a useful resource for DfT in helping connect TIOs with international counterparts to share best practice in transport adaptation.
  • DfT should take more of a lead establishing cross-sector collaboration. Some collaborative relationships are already forming on an ad hoc basis, but the government could better encourage DfT to work with other government departments formally.

ICE submission to the UK Department for Transport consultation on climate adaptation

Content type: Policy

Last updated: 08/07/2024

Author: ICE policy team

  • Laura Cunliffe-Hall, interim lead policy manager at ICE