Climate Change Adaptation

Why consider it?

HTMA Members, with our clients, are collectively responsible for managing and maintaining the highways infrastructure of the country. We help our clients to ensure the resilience of the highways networks, both for the present and for the future.

The weather-related impacts of climate change we are experiencing, now and the potential further impacts of climatic change, need to be taken into account for the current improvement and efficient asset management.

Rather than simply respond to those changes happening around us now, we need to become proactive. We need to build in resilience to limit the vulnerabilities of road networks in a changing climate.  By understanding and catering for the climatic impacts of the future we will collectively mitigate the costs to both ourselves now and the communities of the future.

Some of the predicted impacts on the roads from hotter, drier summers and warmer, wetter winters include:
– asphalt degenerating more quickly
– sub-base and road base foundation cracking
– flood damage more frequent and severe
– standing water reducing safety
– high winds felling trees, signs and streetlights across the roads.

For further information:
UK Climate Change Risk Assessment: Government Report – January
UK Climate Projections

These impacts could increase the risk to road users’ safety, influence travel patterns, even restrict access to basic community support services (ie hospitals, food, water, energy) and the basic support needs of vulnerable people.
The changing climate will also alter conditions under which road workers are expected to work and impact upon their occupational health.

Demand on resources to maintain the networks will be put under increasing pressure and the challenge to demonstrate sustainable efficiencies is now a priority agenda item. Adapting to the changes, by mitigating the impacts through effective risk management, will assist to bring costs under control, from using the right designs and materials through to the level of insurances required.

Climate Change Act – Our Legal Responsibility

The Climate Change Act gives the Secretary of State the power request that local authorities report on current and future predicted impacts of climate change and their plans for adapting to climate change.
As a result, the National Adaptation Programme (NAP) contains a register of actions which includes all the actions agreed in the programme so far. It also aligns risks identified in the Climate Change Risk Assessment to actions being undertaken or to be undertaken and the timescales according to each theme.
The NAP is divided into chapters that address:
• Built environment
• Infrastructure
• Healthy and resilient communities
• Agriculture and forestry
• Natural environment
• Business and local government.

For further information:
Analysis of Climate Local Actions – LGA

Climate Change Act