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Technical services and consulting solutions for clients in the property, energy, transport, water, resources, defence and government sectors.

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Brilliant minds finding solutions to complex problems, made easy to understand. Making complex easy.

Brilliant minds finding solutions to complex problems, made easy to understand. Making complex easy.

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Adopting a new and innovative approach to fighting climate change

In their report on climate change, the Environment Agency’s prevailing message is morbid: 'Adapt or die'. Our environmental specialists explore how our approach to climate change must be refined for us to see significant and promising progress in reducing the built environment's harm to the planet.

03 November 2021 | 3 min read
Ola Holmstrom Mike E Barker Nick Betson

UK

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The government agency paints a chilling picture of what may lie in store for the UK unless we act. The article challenges us to collaborate in tackling the root cause as well as the effects of climate change. But this call to arms has been sounded many times before to limited effect. While there are several excellent examples where the collaboration between the private and public sector have yielded excellent results, the reality is few and far between. We must change our approach.

 

Climate change is affecting our day-to-day lives

The Environment Agency report highlights that, now more than ever before, the effects of climate change can be felt everywhere; from the need to adapt new infrastructure through to our everyday lives. Droughts are becoming more and more common resulting in higher prices on UK produce. Heat waves and rainstorms will become more extreme and make life very difficult for vulnerable people across the country. Even the pollution of our rivers can in part be traced to climate change as more intense rainfalls cause more soil erosion, resulting in more nutrients reaching our rivers. In short, climate change is no longer seen as just a matter about flooding and forest fires, but about almost every aspect of how we live and work.

 

Field of wild flowers

What needs to change?

  • Recognition must be given to projects for trialling new solutions without the threat of penalisation should an initiative not meet the aspirational targets. We must have more innovation.
  • We need to broaden the scope of benefits recognised to better include intangibles, such as heat sinks, and defuse water quality benefits which at the present are poorly represented.
  • We need a method for breaking out of an accountancy approach to mitigation where wider benefits are ignored because a solution might not have exactly the right level of benefit at the local level.

It’s crucial that we take a pragmatic stance in ensuring that schemes bring improvements to the whole, rather than focus on maintaining an environmental status quo.