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LGA Adaptation Virtual Event Summary Blog - 14 March 2024

The virtual event, part of the LGA’s Sustainability Programme, emphasised the urgent need for net zero to be reached, adaptation must happen.

Chaired by Kristen Green, Head of Sustainability - Transport & Large Infrastructure, Crown Commercial Service.

The virtual event, part of the LGA’s Sustainability Programme, emphasised the urgent need for net zero to be reached, adaptation must happen. Adapting to current and predicted changes to our climate, both at the national and local levels is vital across the economy and action needs to be taken across local government and beyond.

The event highlighted local government examples and guidance for developing the capacity to implement adaptation action plans, strategies, and projects.   

Featured speakers included Jacob Heitland and Munni Gahlot from the London Borough of Newham, Victoria Ramsey from the Met Office, and Rachel Toresen‑Owuor from Local Partnerships.

Newham Council’s Adaptation for a Just Transition:

The speaker introduced Newham's challenges, highlighting its young and ethnically diverse population, which presents both risks and strengths. Issues such as poverty, housing insecurity, and flooding disproportionately affect residents, particularly those in densely populated areas. The impact of climate events extends beyond environmental concerns to public health and daily financial costs, with marginalised communities bearing the brunt despite contributing less to carbon emissions. 

Therefore, there is a growing need to address current climate challenges as well as projected future climate events, such as increasing heat waves. Newham stressed the interconnected nature of these challenges, calling for equity considerations in climate action and the adoption of innovative approaches. Newham's "Just Transition Plan" aims to tackle these interconnected challenges by prioritising equity across council policies and activities and adapting to current and future climate changes.

How does the ‘Just Transition Plan’ work?

The plan is based on 3 overarching principles, 6 future objectives and 5 enablers:

  • Increasing equity:
    • Leveraging the just transition to improve the employment opportunities, living conditions, health, and wellbeing of all Newham residents.
  • Reducing emissions:
    • Accelerating our pathway to net zero within Newham and via the supply chains it engages.
  • Future readiness 
    • Building Newham’s physical, social, and organisational capacity, to absorb, adapt and respond to the negative stresses and shocks associated with the climate emergency.

6 Futures:

  • Our homes, workplaces and schools are comfortable, healthy, and efficient.
  • Our energy system is resilient, equitable and not dependent on fossil fuels.
  • We prefer to walk, cycle, or use public transport and goods are safely moved without polluting our streets.
  • We increase sharing and reduce waste building a sharing and circular economy.
  • We eat well and sustainably.
  • Our communities are resilient, connected, and green.

5 Enablers:

  • Growing the Council’s Climate Action capacity and effectiveness
  • Targeting and increasing investment
  • Partnering with Newham’s Anchor Institutions
  • Enabling civic and place-based action
  • Working beyond Newham’s borders

These critical principles allow the council to build a holistic business case and a coalition of the willing to deliver just climate activity across the council that is embedded with everyone.

Newham then explained since launching the plan they have progressed with mobilising local anchor organisations such as UAL’s College of Fashion who have donated tarps as an adaptation solution to provide more shaded areas in the borough.

They have also created toolkits for adaptation measures across multiple service areas to embed this thinking. One example centred on providing social workers with the knowledge and training to provide residents with ways to stay safe during extreme weather events. 

Finally, Newham shared a case study of SUGi pocket forest of working with local education partners to plant 600 trees in under an hour as a carbon cooling, noise reduction mechanism that creates learning opportunities for young people in the borough. 

For more information on the ‘Just Transition Plan’ from the London Borough of Newham, visit 

Met Office - Local Authority Climate Service

The speaker introduced a new climate service funded by DEFRA, aimed at providing localised climate information to all UK local authorities to aid in adaptation decision-making.

Predictions for the UK's climate future include warmer winters, hotter and drier summers, as well as more intense heat events and rainfall. The upcoming Local Authority Climate Service aims to address this need by providing climate information for all UK local authorities, with a launch planned for summer 2024.

The service has three components: a Local Authority Climate Projections Explorer, a Local Authority Climate Report (similar to City packs but adaptable for all local authorities), and a Local Authority Community Site that serves as a central hub for supporting information on adaptation. These tools aim to provide localised climate information readily usable by local authorities.

Initial feedback highlighted the value of the service in reducing data processing time and providing localised information between national summaries and the UK Climate Projections (UKCP) user interface. Suggestions for future development include adding additional impact indicators and providing more granular spatial detail. By recognising the urgency for information, the service will initially use UKCP regional information and aims to incorporate higher resolution climate data to produce more detailed insights, such as heat maps, by next year.

For more information, please see the Met Office’s website for their Climate Data Portal and the Local Authority Climate Service.

Local Partnerships Adaptation Toolkit for Local Authorities

Local Partnerships collaborated with the UK Climate Impacts Programme to create the Climate Adaptation Toolkit for Local Authorities.

This toolkit aims to assist councils in developing climate risk registers for service delivery. There is a current focus on ensuring the integration of toolkit outputs into corporate risk registers and council plans.

The need to focus on the impact of climate change on council services and the importance of engaging senior leaders early to explore adaptation and mitigate risks should be a key focus for any council. Only creating risk assessments and registers is insufficient, there must be a discussion about transforming council services and potential redesigning with adaptation at the heart. The speaker stressed the importance of adaptation not being a post achievement of net zero targets. Adaptation needs to be happening now.

Councils need to assess how climate risk impacts service delivery, including both immediate responses and incremental changes. The toolkit should help integrate this into medium-term financial planning, corporate delivery plan development, political cycles, and asset lifecycle management, as well as insurance regimes.

The adaptation toolkit for local authorities is available for free on the Local Partnerships website, along with a risk matrix. Updates are underway focusing on guidance for projections related to heat and floods, understanding critical thresholds, aligning with emerging work from the Met Office, and the Climate Change Committee's monitoring framework and forthcoming Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) publication in 2026.

For more information on the Local Partnerships Adaptation Toolkit for Local Authorities please visit,


Q: Have we seen any rural councils create transition and adaptation plans?

A: Local Partnerships have recently been working in Wales around climate risk and adaptation, mainly focusing on health and social care delivery but that has provided some additional insight into the approach that emphasises the differences between urban and rural authorities. Pembrokeshire County Council are a good example of an adaptation plan covering a non-urban environment. The Hertfordshire Climate Change and Sustainability Partnership has completed a case study on the adaptation toolkit.

Q: Is there anything else that people should be looking to help support them on this journey?

A: As Newham stated the point to consider is how to facilitate space for discussion and planning in your authority. Explore what's already happening as you don’t need a data set to tell you how your service is impacted as you are the expert that holds the corporate knowledge, with officers on the ground, and you know your budgets too.

All of these toolkits form part of a piece of the puzzle and are appropriate for any entry point regardless of where you are in your journey. You can pick one up and you'll be able to move forward without having to do an in depth analysis of absolutely everything.

Q: Could you share one key lesson from your council in launching the Just Transition Plan?

A: Know how to manage your senior people and utilise your passionate and knowledgeable mid to senior level officer layer to bridge the strategic connection of all these different levels so you bring energy directly into the strategy and action.

This helped create and co-design the whole Just Transition Plan at a cross service level as any climate plan cannot sit in just the climate team. So, building the early buy-in at the mid to senior level is essential as it evidences how work has been co-designed by a chorus of voices who are on the ground and know how to implement these strategies.

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