Adapting to current and predicted changes to our climate is vital across the economy. Through our statutory framework under the Climate Change Act 2008, Defra works across government to promote climate adaptation and the nation’s resilience to a changing climate. The Act requires us to prepare, on a five-yearly cycle, a UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA), followed by a National Adaptation Programme (NAP), setting out actions to address the risks identified in the CCRA. To inform our third adaptation cycle, on 16 June the Climate Change Committee (CCC) published a new UK Climate Risk Independent Assessment (CRIA). It offers a detailed and up to date insight into the growing risks and opportunities to the UK from climate change and includes a technical chapter on the natural environment and natural resources, including coverage of opportunities for new crops and viniculture. It will inform our third UK CCRA, due for publication in January 2022.
The wine sector is excellent example of how our agriculture sector is already adapting to meet the demands of climate change and through this helping to build resilience in our rural landscapes and economies. One indication of this is the willingness of some famous champagne houses to invest in UK vineyards.
We work closely with the £18.7 million Strategic Priority Fund (SPF) UK Climate Resilience Programme, supported by UK Research & Innovation and the Met Office. This programme includes a project looking specifically at the risks and opportunities associated with climate change in the UK wine sector. A link to the project can be found here: crews-uk-characterising-and-adapting-to-climate-risks-in-the-uk-wine-sector-climate-resilience-in-the-uk-wine-sector/
A recent report produced by the South Downs National Park Authority indicates that 0.4% of land is currently dedicated to viticulture in the South Downs but that up to as much as 34% could be suitable for growing vines. This demonstrates significant scope to increase grape production both in the south and further north in the UK.
Mitigating and adapting to climate change remain one of this Government’s key objectives.