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A Summary of Climate Change Impacts in the West Midlands Combined Authority Area

What does adaptation look like?

The previous sections demonstrate that climate change is likely to result in significant impacts across the West Midlands. However, we have a chance to respond and adapt.

Climate change adaptation refers to action across society for everyone to play a role in, including those outlined in the diagram opposite. Adaptation will be more successful if action is taken within the next decade, and, if investment is put into the right responses, interventions could not only protect
us from climate impacts, but also provide multiple benefits across society, the economy and support our broader efforts to tackle climate change through carbon reduction goals.

There are many potential adaptation interventions, including hard engineering works, behaviour change and nature-based solutions. Regarding the latter, an example is on-going tree planting schemes. Planting trees results in them absorbing carbon and can improve wildlife habitat quality. However, trees can also help to alleviate flood risk or provide shading to help reduce the effects of heatwaves, especially in urban areas .

Considering how existing or planned activities can improve our resilience to climate change is key to ensuring that adaptation actions can be rolled out quicker and more effectively across the region, without having to implement an unmanageable range of new interventions.

Adaptation interventions
  • Nature based solutions
  • Urban planning for climate change 
  • Emergency and continuity planning
  • Infrastructure and building resilience
  • Community networks 
  • Water conservation
  • Climate data and evidence
West Midlands Climate Change Adaptation Plan

The West Midlands Climate Change Adaptation Plan gives an idea of the sorts of measures policymakers and organisations can take to help adapt the region to the sorts of impacts listed in this summary.

For example:

  • Integrating responses to flood and overheating risk into urban greening programmes, such as Sunrise in Stoke-on-Trent.

  • Rolling out nature-based solutions where one of the main objectives is flood alleviation, such as the River Severn Partnership.

  • Assessing the susceptibility of care homes to overheating to minimise health risks to vulnerable people, such as the ClimaCare project.

  • Ensuring the resilience and security of our water supplies, such as through the Severn Trent Birmingham Resilience project.

  • Protecting our infrastructure assets, such as through Network Rail’s resilience programme.

    The visual to the right demonstrates the kind of adaptation features you could expect to see in an urban landscape and Adaptation Scotland have produced a Climate Ready Places interactive platform to highlight the differences between adapted and unadapted places.

Examples of urban components
  • Building
  • Street
  • Trees
  • Solar water heating
  • Multifunctional green wall
  • Multi-functional roof garden
  • Storm water harvesting and recycling
  • Food production
  • Ground water aquifer
  • Constructed wetland
  • Pocket park
  • Urban streams and ponds