Local Resilience Act

Policy and finance for climate resilience

Work in progress

Local Resilience Act

As climate shifts worldwide, councils across England are being hit by increasingly extreme weather patterns including violent storm surges, unbearable temperatures, and widespread flooding. Even under the most minimal of warming scenarios, infrastructure, public health, and GDP will all worsen due to the weighty pressure of extreme weather events. If action is not taken, the UK might see damages of up to 7.4 percent reduction of its potential GDP by the end of the century, alongside devastating shocks to its agricultural sector and to the health of its population.

However, with suitable upstream mitigation and preventative measures in place, that figure would drop to a predicted 2.4 percent. Local authorities have the capability to enact necessary resilience measures for both the built and natural environment.

Different areas are undergoing their own unique changes, and specialised adaptation is necessary. At the level of place, our local authorities are best situated to understand and to act upon individual resilience requirements from city to country to coast. However, the current funding landscape for local government to deliver resilient places is far too piecemeal and insufficient. The responsibilities between local, central and industry are also too fragmented and disconnected for this to be addressed as a whole place agenda.

To address this, Localis proposes a Local Resilience Act that would work to ensure funding for place resilience to meet a statutory duty upon local authorities, as a core service line, to provide the best adaptation measures for the built and natural environments in the coming generations.

The Act would streamline existing legislation to allow the absolutely necessary changes to happen at the local level – the level where climate change adaptation is most able to mitigate the risks of dangerous weather changes. Changes to transport, buildings, local businesses, land use and biodiversity are all required and can be enacted by local authorities but only if the role of local government in directing resilience is consolidated and if the necessary funding and revenue streams provided.

If you or your organisation are interested in feeding into or supporting our work on a Local Resilience Act, please contact Localis chief executive Jonathan Werran at jonathan.werran@localis.org.uk.