• 12 October 2021

NLA’s Resilient London report highlights climate change challenges ahead

New London Architecture (NLA) have published their latest report, ‘Resilient London: confronting climate change’, which considers how the capital is adapting to confront climate change and plots a course for resilience to future shocks.

With the consequences of climate change becoming increasingly visible through recent flooding events, the report highlights how climate change is already impacting London. In addition, the publication examines the predicted climate scenarios and outlines what the anticipated weather patterns will mean for the UK. Casting an eye over London’s existing built environment and infrastructure to outline what still needs to be done to prepare the city for the climate emergency, the report incorporates a range of case studies championing best practice in the built environment. These include Waterman projects Meridian Water, Roots In The Sky, The Marq, Warwick Court, 33 King William Street and YY London.

In a recent statement, Peter Murray, curator-in-chief at NLA, commented: “London is under threat from flooding, overheating and water shortage, all exacerbated by aging infrastructure. While several studies and action plans are in place for the capital to adapt to climate change, we are still a long way to go from achieving a resilient London. The Resilient London report reveals that joined up governance from central Government through to Local Authorities and the private sector, as well as buy-in from Londoners, is required. With COP26 in November, the world’s attention is on climate change and now is the time to act to ensure the future prosperity of our capital city.”

The report was launched at a webinar on October 6, where an expert panel, including Waterman’s Climate Resilience Consultant, Terri Wills, Architect’s Journal’s Sustainability Editor, Hattie Hartman, the Environment Agency’s Abby Crisostomo, Hoare Lea’s Partner and Head of Sustainability, Ashley Bateson, and Robert Evans of Argent, gave an overview of the key findings and themes.

Key findings include:
• In-depth analysis of London’s risk to the impact of climate change demonstrates urgent action is needed,
• Current efforts are predominantly focused on short term net zero targets,
• Existing plans are not sufficient to adapt to 10°C summer temperature increase predicted by 2050,
• With one fifth of London within the Thames floodplain, over 37,000 homes are at risk,
• Long term investment and cross-sector governance is required to adapt London to the effects of climate change,
• Additional funding streams required to meet the challenge,
• Skills gap identified amongst built environment professionals.

The report’s ten priorities for the capital’s climate resilience are:
1. Upskill the public sector and the industry on climate adaptation,
2. Develop a common framework for quantifying climate risks and mobilise stakeholders and funding towards climate resilience,
3. All buildings should be designed to adapt to future weather conditions, key consideration should be given to overheating,
4. Retrofit old building stock to meet both net zero and the adaptation agendas,
5. Increase SuDS adoption across London to mitigate the risks of flooding while supporting biodiversity,
6. Embrace nature-based solutions and maximise environmental net gain in all new developments,
7. Unlock funding and make it available at local level to implement adaptation measures,
8. Engage with communities and support bottom-up, community-led projects that promote social cohesion, empowerment and people’s wellbeing,
9. Increase access to green spaces in areas where this is lacking .
10. Develop cross-sectoral partnerships to enable effective implementation of resilience actions.

Waterman’s Climate Change Consultant, Terri Wills, said: “We are proud to support this important work. This report makes clear that as progress is made towards net zero and carbon reduction, we can’t forget about the need to prepare for changes to our physical environment which will come because of the increase in global temperatures. We are supporting clients at both a corporate level and through our built environment design and consultancy work to help them reach net zero, whilst preparing for the physical risks ahead.”

To download the full document from NLA’s website, click here.

To find out more about NLA, click here.

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