Baseline Assessment for Greater Manchester
Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Policy
Climate change is happening now with average temperatures are around 1°C higher than 100 years ago, and extreme events seem to becoming more frequent and more intense. A robust policy framework is needed in order to support adaptation and to make Greater Manchester’s (GM) people, infrastructure and built environment more resilient to the changing climate. The EcoCities Project (2009 – 2012) identified three themes for adapting GM to the changing climate and focussed on ‘safeguarding our future prosperity’, ‘protecting the most vulnerable in our society’, and ‘building the resilience of our essential infrastructure’ (Carter et al. 2015). This current report focuses on the latter of these themes and provides an overview of relevant policies and legislation at national and GM level that relate to climate change adaptation and resilience with a focus on infrastructure. The policy review covers three main areas including climate change and flood risk management, spatial planning and economic development, and civil contingencies and resilience.
The review shows that, at a national level, the UK is one of the front-runners in terms of climate change adaptation policy in Europe. Within a multi-level governance framework, GM has increasingly obtained greater powers from central government and aspires to be a world-leading digital and green city. GM also has stated goals of ‘rapidly adapting to the changing climate’. GM is also a signatory to Mayors Adapt and is one of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities. Therefore, there are high-level commitments to ensuring that GM is well-adapted and resilient to climate change.
Planning for adaptation is relatively well-developed, particularly in the area of infrastructure development, but there are question marks over the implementation of policy initiatives and the ability to retrofit existing infrastructure. The funding mechanisms to support implementation are also opaque and, given that adaptation to climate change is not mandated for at local authority level, unlike countries such as Germany and Austria, there is little incentive for local authorities to take the lead on delivering adaptation projects.
Even so, climate change adaptation and resilience has a number of policy hooks at national and GM level which means that, with the right support, attention can and should turn to implementation of measures and the development of robust indicators to monitor progress.