Draft Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan

Draft Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan



  1. The debate on climate change has shifted from whether society needs to act, to how much has to be done by who and how quickly. A broad range of national and international reports have focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and taking practical actions to adapt to the inevitable consequences and of global warming. Greenhouse gases stay in the atmosphere for over 50 years so the atmosphere will continue to warm up even if a dramatic reduction in emissions can be achieved soon, so the impact will be felt for decades if not centuries.
  1. Climate change has moved up the political agenda as society is coming to terms with the predicted environmental and social impacts and financial implications of climate change. The government has created three national indicators for climate change intervention work to measure progress at the local level. These are;
  • NI 185 - how local authorities are reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
  • NI 186 - how local communities are reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
  • NI 188 - how a local authority is leading the community to adapt to climate change
  1. The Sustainable Community Strategy is responsive to the need to act effectively and has the following strategic priority ' Reduce carbon emissions and adapt to Climate Change’ and Middlesbrough's Local Area Agreement has a supporting priority target which is a key requirement for meeting Level 3 of NI188 by March 2010. This document is the Action Plan required to meet Level 3. The Middlesbrough Vision and all Community Strategy themes require an effective response to the projected changing weather patterns, which are explained in this document.
  1. The contents of this Action Plan, therefore, support commitments in the Local Area Agreement and the Sustainable Community Strategy and comply with the requirements of N1188. The actions are essential if Middlesbrough is to have a sustainable future. The Action Plan will also provide an important contribution to Middlesbrough's developing One Planet Living framework, which is being led by Middlesbrough Council and the Middlesbrough Partnership, with support from Middlesbrough Environment City.

International and National Issues

  1. At the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri,Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated that human induced warming of the climate system is unequivocal. This is evident from increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice and rising global sea level. Dr Pachauri went on to state that societies must now respond to climate change by adapting to its impacts and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. There are viable adaptation options that can be implemented at relatively low cost and/or with high benefit-cost ratios. Research suggests that high benefit solutions can be achieved at relatively low cost by implementing key adaptation measures at an early stage.
  1. The United Kingdom Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) states that while it is essential to reduce future greenhouse gas emissions, the effects of past emissions will continue to be felt for decades. The latest climate change scenarios for the UK are provided by the “UK Climate Projections”. These provide information about expected climate changes in the UK over the 21st century for low, medium and high greenhouse gas emissions scenarios. As well as changes in average seasonal climate, there is also information on changes in climatic extremes. For the first time ever, UK climate change information is based on probability. The 10%, 50%, and 90% probability levels reinforce the idea that most of the climate projections do not provide a single estimate of change.
Action in Middlesbrough
  1. The Middlesbrough Sustainable Community Strategy sets out the long-term vision that ‘Middlesbrough will be a thriving, vibrant community where people and businesses succeed’. To realise the vision for Middlesbrough, the Middlesbrough Partnership has structured the Strategy around shared national and local government priorities. These priorities form six key themes and Theme 6 – Securing Environmental Sustainability has four strategic priorities. The fourth of these is ‘reduce carbon emissions and adapt for the adverse effects of climate change’. The Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan contributes directly to this priority and to Middlesbrough Council’s work on National Indicator 188 (NI 188), Planning to Adapt to Climate Change. NI 188 is one of the 35 National Indicators in Middlesbrough’s Local Area Agreement (LAA).
  1. This Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan for Middlesbrough looks at the projections for climate conditions for 2050 and beyond and considers the likely impacts of the changing climate on the town. By assessing the town’s vulnerabilities, the aim is to use this information to guide the work of Middlesbrough Council, and various partner organisations, over the next 40 years. Building climate change adaptation considerations into this work will help the town incorporate appropriate adaptations into routine maintenance work and capital projects. Not only will this help the community to cope with the negative impacts of climate change, but it will also put the town in an excellent position to grasp potential business opportunities.
  1. This Adaptation Action Plan contains existing initiatives and extends local activities and, therefore, continues a long and challenging journey. In some areas, such as flood risk management, a great deal of work has already been undertaken. In other areas, such as adaptation-based business opportunities, there is much to be done to raise the profile across the business community. The aim of this action plan is to identify the situation in 2009/2010 and to establish an Action Plan for the immediate priorities for further work. It is likely that this initial work will be monitored, developed, and built on over the next forty years through the same planning process.
Environmental Sustainability and One Planet Living®
  1. Middlesbrough Council has adopted a One Planet Living® approach to achieving environmental sustainability and this action plan will support our one planet living commitments agreed by Middlesbrough Council’s Executive in July 2009, and subsequently by the Middlesbrough Partnership.
National Indicator 188, Planning to Adapt to Climate Change
  1. The Adaptation Action Plan is an integral part of Middlesbrough Council’s work on National Indicator 188 (NI 188), Planning to Adapt to Climate Change. NI 188 has five levels of achievement (0-4). Middlesbrough Council achieved NI 188 Level 2 in March 2009. This places Middlesbrough Council among the top 6% of English Local Authorities. Level 2 focuses on a comprehensive risk based assessment and prioritised action in some areas. Middlesbrough’s vulnerabilities to climate change were assessed using a Local Climate Impacts Profile for Middlesbrough. This profile made use of data available from the United Kingdom Climate Impacts Projections (2002) and Environment Agency’s Rainfall and Weather Impact Generator (EARWIG). This original data has been greatly improved by the publication of the United Kingdom Climate Projections (2009).
  1. Meeting Middlesbrough’s Local Area Agreement target of achieving NI 188 Level 3 by March 2010 requires the publication of this comprehensive action plan and prioritised action in all priority areas. Level 3 also requires climate change adaptation to be embedded in the council’s decision making processes and for the council to be supporting the Local Strategic Partnership in developing its own Climate Change Adaptation activity. Level 4, to be achieved by March 2011, requires implementation, monitoring and continuous review’ of the actions identified in the Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan.
Implementation and Performance Monitoring
  1. Heads of Service will include actions identified in this action plan in service plans across Middlesbrough Council. Delivery of these service plans is monitored as part of Middlesbrough Council’s corporate performance management system. In addition, each Service will carry out appropriate climate change risk assessments and update business continuity plans as part of their 2010/11 work programme.
Future Climate Change Projections
  1. The UK Climate Projections (2009) provide information on how the UK’s climate is likely to change in the 21st century, as it responds to rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The North East Climate Change Adaptation Study (2008) pre-dated the publication of these projections and made use of assessments from the Environment Agency’s Rainfall and Weather Impact Generator (EARWIG) for ten locations across the North East region to determine the climate changes projected by the 2050s. Key findings from this assessment across the North East region are:
  1. Annual rainfall is projected to reduce throughout the region by up to 10%.
  2. Rainfall is projected to show increased seasonality with increases of up to around 21% in winter and reductions of up to around 37% in summer.
  3. There is projected variability in extreme rainfall events, but increases of up to around 20% will be felt in some areas.
  4. Average seasonal temperatures are projected to increase, with a region-wide annual average daily temperature change of just under 2°C.
  5. Extreme hot temperatures will increase by around 3°C.
  6. Heat waves are likely to increase in frequency of occurrence.
  7. There is projected to be a reduction in the number of frost days.
  8. There is projected to be a major reduction in winter snowfall, of around 45% to 83% across the region.
  9. There is variability in the projected winter wind climate. Small increases will be felt in some areas.
  10. There is projected to be an increase in mean sea levels of around 0.3m.
  11. There is projected to be an increase in sea surge levels of around 0.30m to 0.35m.
  1. Headline predictions include:
  • An increase in winter average daily temperatures of 1.3oC
  • An increase in summer average temperature of 2.1oC
  • An increase in winter average rainfall of 12.7%
  • A decrease in summer average rainfall of 33.2%
  • A decrease in winter average daily snowfall of 67.7%
  • A decrease in frost days (minimum temperature <0oC) of 51.8%
  1. The North East Climate Change Adaptation Study 2008 projects climate changes across the North East region to 2050 and assesses the impacts of the projected climate changes on current services, assets, communities, business and infrastructure. The study identifies 18 Principal Climate Change Related Impacts (PCCRI) across the region. This action plan considers the specific vulnerabilities of Middlesbrough to each of these predicted impacts and identifies work currently underway and planned to prepare for these changes.
Middlesbrough Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan
  1. The following table assesses the vulnerability of Middlesbrough to each of these 18 impact areas and identifies the action that has already been taken to address them and where further action or assessment is required. For each action a time scale has been given. Where possible, a specific date is given but where continuous actions are required this is indicated. The ‘Known Budget’ implications of each action are also considered. In many cases the actions are part and parcel of the current activity of Middlesbrough Council. As such, no additional cost to Middlesbrough Council will be incurred. In other cases, where outside agencies will be responsible for funding an action, it is simply indicated that there will be no known Budget Implications for Middlesbrough Council. Where work is planned, the amount and source of the budget is indicated. Action numbering is provisionalat this stage. These will be cross-referenced to departmental plans in due course.


PCCRI1 / Increased frequency of flooding from rivers, streams and the sea
Changes in winter rainfall, extreme rainfall events, mean sea levels and surges will place increasing pressure on existing flood and sea defences and cause more frequent flooding of presently undefended areas. The standard of service provided by existing defence structures, where present, will reduce over time as the peak river flows and extreme sea levels increase with climate change, leading to increased likelihood of overtopping, overflowing or breaching of defences (The North East Climate Change Adaptation Study, 2008).
Middlesbrough’s northern boundary is the River Tees. Six becks flow through the town into the River Tees. These are affected by heavy rainfall and by high tides.
Current Status / Actions / Timescale / Known Budget Implications / Responsible Officer/Agency
The Environment Agency (EA) is producing (draft February 2008) the Tees Tidal Flood Risk Management Strategy to manage flood risk in a long-term and sustainable way over the next 100 years. The flood risk on the lower Tees up to the A66 road bridge is tidal, rather than fluvial. The strategy proposes to hold the line on the current defences. The strategy is coordinated nationally by the Environment Agency and is due for publication in 2010. The strategy identifies 9 independent areas (flood cells) along the River Tees. Three of these cells are within Middlesbrough. / (A1) Environment Agency to publish the Tees Tidal Flood Risk Management Strategy. Environment Agency to implement the strategy in conjunction with others subject to funding approval. / Strategy publication by 31 December 2010.
Strategy implementation programme 25 years. / None for Middlesbrough Council. Environment Agency budgets to cover the identified work programme. / Environment Agency
Transporter flood cell – The whole of this cell is to be redeveloped as part of the Middlehaven project. A flood risk assessment was carried out for the first stage of the development and it is proposed that the land is raised in areas to be developed to 5.0m Above Ordnance Datum (AOD). / (A2) A flood risk assessment will be undertaken for developments in this area. / Continuous. / Funded from Middlehaven budgets. / Development Control (Regeneration, Middlesbrough Council)
North Ormesby flood cell –The Environment Agency proposes to raise Ormesby Beck barrage. This flood cell contains a refinery to the south of Cargo Fleet Lane, an area of the Middlehaven development between Stephenson Way and Marsh Road, a 1km length of the adjacent railway line to the south of ‘The Leeway’ and a section of the B1513. / (A3) The preferred option (tidal only, there may be fluvial aspects upstream of barrage) is to hold the line by raising Ormesby Beck’s existing tidal barrage. This will be implemented during the first 5 years of the Tees Tidal Flood Risk Management Strategy (subject to funding). / December 2015. / None for Middlesbrough Council. Environment Agency budgets to cover the identified work programme. / Environment Agency
The existing walls along Ormesby Beck are in poor condition and are expected to breach. In 1995, the beck walls were raised to a minimum of 4.57m Above Ordnance Datum (AOD) as part of the North Ormesby flood relief scheme. / (A4) The Environment Agency to investigate the walls around the confluence of Ormesby and Marton West becks and will coordinate any resulting needs (subject to funding) / December 2015. / None for Middlesbrough Council. Environment Agency budgets to cover the identified work programme. / Environment Agency
Riverside Park flood cell - The Environment Agency’s preferred option is to hold the existing line of defence. This should be maintained to a 1% (1 in 100-year) standard of protection (including future sea level rise). Due to the existing level of the frontage, works are not required immediately. / (A5) The Environment Agency recommend that this work should be included in years 6 to 10 of the Tees Tidal Flood Risk Management Strategy. The Environment Agency recommend further detailed appraisal and investigations are undertaken to confirm the preferred option. / December 2020 / None for Middlesbrough Council. Environment Agency budgets to cover the identified work programme. / Environment Agency
All developments in areas vulnerable to flooding are required to submit a flood risk assessment as part of the planning application process. All such developments are referred to the Environment Agency for detail comment. Where appropriate these comments are included as conditions on the planning consent. / (A6) Continue to apply planning policy statement 25 (PPS25) to assess the present and future flooding risks to all new developments. / Continuous / Funded by developers/ applicants. / Development Control (Regeneration, Middlesbrough Council)
The Middlesbrough Local Development Framework (LDF) Core Strategy Policy CS4 (Sustainable Development) requires all development to contribute to achieving sustainable development principles by achieving the criteria within the policy, where appropriate. This includes ensuring inappropriate development is not carried out in the floodplain and sustainable methods of surface drainage are used. This should include the incorporation of Sustainable Drainage Systems on new developments to mitigate against localised flooding. / (A7) Continue to apply the policy effectively, to ensure inappropriate development is not carried out in the floodplain and sustainable drainage systems are utilized where appropriate. / Core Strategy adopted and effective to 2023. / Funded from the existing Regeneration revenue budget. / Urban Policy
(Regeneration, Middlesbrough Council)
Policy CS5 of the Middlesbrough LDF Core Strategy requires development proposals to be completed to a high quality of design and contribute to achieving the criteria set out in the policy. This includes all new residential developments being completed to aBuildings Research Establishment (BRE) EcoHomes rating of very good or excellent, and all new non-residential developments to be completed to a Buildings Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) rating of very good or excellent. BREEAM aims to direct development to areas at lower risk of flooding or encourage taking measures to reduce the impact of flooding on buildings in areas with a medium or high risk of flooding. / (A8) Continue to apply the policy effectively, to ensure appropriate development is completed to the required standard.
N.B. The BRE Ecohomes standard for residential developments has now been replaced by the Code for Sustainable Homes. / Core Strategy adopted and effective to 2023. / Funded from the existing Regeneration revenue budget.
Construction costs to be borne by the developer. / Urban Policy
(Regeneration, Middlesbrough Council)
The Core Strategy provides the policy framework to ensure new development makes an appropriate contribution towards climate change issues. This will be developed further through more detailed LDF documents such as the emerging Urban Design Framework Supplementary Planning document (SPD), which is currently under preparation. / (A9) Adopt the Urban Design Framework Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). / December 2011 / Funded from the existing Regeneration revenue budget. / Urban Policy (Regeneration, Middlesbrough Council)