Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Staff

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 13th March 2020.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many officials in his Department with responsibility for adaptation to climate change including flooding have been in post in each financial year from 2010-11 to present; and for what reasons there have been changes in the numbers of those positions each year.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government’s commitment to addressing the risks from climate change is as strong as ever. The Prime Minister’s climate change committee will drive further action across Government and we recognise the benefits of taking early actions. The United Kingdom has been a leader in this area for more than a decade; while continuing to reduce our contribution to climate change, we are also taking robust action to improve the resilience of our people, economy and environment.

In line with our 25 Year Environment Plan, the second National Adaptation Programme (NAP) sets out an ambitious range of actions that the Government will implement in the following five years.

The second NAP is informed by the second Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) which was published in 2017 and highlights priority risk areas such as flooding and coastal change risks to communities and infrastructure; risks to health and wellbeing from high temperatures; and risks to natural capital (including terrestrial, coastal, marine and freshwater ecosystems).

Adaptation is rightly integrated throughout the policies and programmes of Government. The NAP is a cross-department collaboration, bringing together Government’s policies on managing climate risks in one place.

This means that teams across Government are involved in a wide range of adaptation activity. Within Defra, this includes embedding adaptation into biodiversity, agriculture, peat, water, and floods’ policies and programmes, amongst others. Beyond Defra, adaptation is mainstreamed into areas such as housing, infrastructure and health. The mainstreaming of adaptation across Government makes it difficult to ascertain exact numbers on staffing who have responsibility for adaptation embedded into their roles.

Defra is the overall lead Department for climate adaptation, though responsibility for ensuring that policies and programmes are climate resilient lies across Departments and policy leads. Our support to the updated UK climate projections (UKCP18), published in 2018, provides an additional tool to help everyone better understand the changes to climate and its risks and make decisions on that basis. This will make an important contribution to building resilience throughout the UK.

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