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Meeting: 01/02/2010 - Overview and Scrutiny Commission Ad- hoc panel on Climate Change - Completed (Item 20)

20 WITNESSES pdf icon PDF 44 KB

The Panel will hear from:



Matthew Lipson, Assistant Scientist, Committee on Climate Change, Adaptation Sub-Committee

Gary Ferrand, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service

Thurstan Crockett, Head of Sustainability and Environmental Policy, Brighton & Hove City Council

Angela Dymott, Assistant Director, Property and Design, Brighton & Hove City Council

Robin Humphries, Business Continuity Manager, Brighton & Hove City Council


The attached papers are as follows:


  1. Biographies of the witnesses
  2. Presentation from Gary Ferrand of the East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service
  3. Evidence statement from Thurstan Crockett
  4. Adaptation chapter from ‘Climate Change Action Plan for Brighton & Hove’ (December 2006)
  5. ‘How is the Council through its Property Services preparing for Climate Change and in particular adaptation’ by Angela Dymott
  6. Briefing from Robin Humphries, Civil Contingencies Manager

Additional documents:


Matthew Lipson, Assistant Scientist, is working to support the Adaptation Sub-Committee.  This is a sub-committee of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) an independent body, established under the Climate Change Act 2008. 


The aim of the Adaptation Sub-Committee is to:


provide expert advice and scrutiny through the CCC to ensure that the Government’s programme for adaptation enables the UK to prepare effectively for the impacts of climate change.’


It has 3 key goals to:

  • To advise on the development of a UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA)
  • To assess the preparedness of the UK to meet the risks and opportunities arising from climate change
  • To promote effective actions to adapt to climate change by society as a whole.


The membership of the Sub-Committee includes Graham Wynne who had a strong local authority history.


Matthew’s own role was to understand at a local level what central government is doing which is:

·        Helpful

·        A hindrance

·        Barriers and blocks to action and what central government can do to help 


 Adaptation is vital because:

         Without mitigation there will be a likely 3-4 degrees warming by 2100

         CCC (mitigation) recommendation was a global 3% reduction pa with emissions peaking before 2020

         This still leaves us with a small chance of 3 degrees and a 50% chance of 2 degrees.


Conclusion: however much we mitigate (and we must), we are committed to some increase in global temperatures. Although there is some uncertainty over exactly how much, impacts will grow over time.


He could see from the information provided to him before the meeting, that Brighton & Hove was doing a good deal to reduce the impact of climate change. However much is being done to mitigate against the effects of climate change, we also need to adapt. 


Warmer global temperatures will have many impacts for the UK. UKCP09 Projections, based on the best available science, helps us understand what this will mean at a local level:

·        Under business as usual, we can expect wetter and warmer winters

·        Also increased chances of severe events like the floods we saw in Cumbria

·        However, there is also considerable uncertainty surrounding these predictions


The UKCP09 projections can be downscaled to examine the impacts for Brighton and Hove. These projections can provide you with information about your local region - down to 25km. The graph I have provided to the Panel shows predicted changes in precipitation by 2080 for the wettest day in winter months (assuming emissions remain high). This shows that there could be a 20% increase in precipitation and may be significantly higher.


This shows that we have to adapt to a lot of uncertainties and adopt flexible strategies. The UKCP09 projections are designed to help Local Authorities build capacity by exploring and planning for likely changes. The goal is to embed climate change into thinking, adopting an approach of:

·        Flexibility - For example, the TE2100 project which looks at flood protection for London delays very expensive decisions until they need to be made.

·        Resilience – this is an important issue for example the fire service who can do a lot at the local level to increase resilience

·        ‘Least regrets’ e.g. urban tree planting


A recent survey conducted by the Institute of Environmental Managers on adaptation found that 90% of local authorities were adapting, which was high compared to other organisations. However when LAs were asked the following question:

Q: How well do you think your organisation is adapting to climate change?

only 9% responded that they were adapting well, whereas 57% said they were adapting fairly and 34% said they were adapting poorly.


The key barriers identified by local authorities were:

·        Resources

·        Engagement

·        Understanding


The first results for NI 188 for 149 Local Strategic Partnerships achievements up to 31 March 2009 have been reported. The key findings were that:

·        51% (76) reported that they were at level 0.

·        43% (64) had reached level 1.

·        5% (8) at level 2 - Bexley, Islington, Kingston-upon-Hull, Kirklees, Leicester, Middlesbrough, Staffordshire and Trafford.   

·        Stockton-on-Tees which was the only LSP to report that it had achieved level 3.


Defra reviewed the first year of reporting for local authorities against National Indicator 188.

They found some barriers to climate change adaptation at a local level:

  • A lack of resources for some local authorities, particularly small district councils, that was significantly hindering them moving from Level 0 to Level 1;
  • A lack of skills, particularly among service heads and their staff; and
  • Too much duplication of work was occurring due to a lack of steer centrally to local authorities/LSPs.

Source: Defra (2009) National Indicator (NI) 188: Year 1 Review and Analysis. Conducted by Ann Davies (In House Policy Consultancy).


Questions to Matthew Lipson


Gordon MacKerron (GMK): Are there any plans for central government to change its relationship with local authorities re: climate change adaptation?


Matthew Lipson (ML): At present the ASC were just listening and there were no fixed ideas.


GMK: Interested in the Defra 2009 report comment that there seems to be significant duplication in the work.


ML: Promised to pass the executive report to KA.


GMK: What is the deadline you are working to for finding out information about local authorities? Are there any plans, given the feedback so far, for the government to issue further guidance or help to speed up the process?


 ML: DEFRA are looking at this issue and are keen to improve the NI188 process.


GMK: It is good to hear about the ‘least regrets’ focus in planning. In relation to the lack of resources being such a barrier to planning, do the Terms of Reference (TOR) of your Sub-Committee enable you to recommend that additional resources are made available to tackle adaptation issues?


ML: The government is working towards a National Adaptation Plan. This will follow from the national Climate Change Risk Assessment which will be laid before parliament in January 2012. This may prompt changes in resourcing, however its worth noting that climate change could also be treated as another risk and embedded in normal risk planning. It may not always be effective to separate it out and treat it seperately.


GMK: Therefore it is unlikely that anything will come back before 2011.


ML: We do hope to produce some output before 2011, but I doubt that resource decisions will be taken very soon,given the approaching elections.


Gary Ferrand, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, & Keith Ring, Borough Commander of East Sussex Fire & Rescue


The slide which shows ‘response areas’ highlights the dark areas on this map which are the clusters that represent the flood zones which fall out of our 13 minutes response times. These zones include:

·        Dungeness Marsh

·        South Downs


The slide provided which shows major flood areas, are used as part of our modelling for response times and are critical to the Fire Service’s ability to serve Brighton & Hove (B&H) and East Sussex. The River Ouse presents a significant barrier. There are 3 fire stations in the City, but if extra resources were needed, they would have to come from stations past this River. 8.4% of the population lives in flood zone areas, which represents around 63,000 people. In 2000 there was significant flooding and the service needed to look at how best to respond to this.


The key risks in B&H are:

·        Tidal and fluvial flooding

·        Coastal erosion

·        Ground water flooding (the most significant risk for the city)


Their modelling work has shown that London Road and Lewes Road are the most vulnerable roads in the city. Despite the concerns about the vulnerabilities of accessing the Preston Circus Station, to date they have not failed at getting appliances out. But there is nothing to say that this will not happen in the future. These 2 roads are built on river beds and are populated with old Victorian buildings, often with basements. In the event of any flooding, these buildings would present a significant demand on FRS resources. 


The speed of response is important to the service, because one could expect higher levels of fatalities if they have a lower response time. This could make the difference between life and death.


One of the key emergency planning considerations for the service is that a number of the fire stations are in Zone 2 flooding areas e.g.

·        Rye

·        Lewes

·        Uckfield

·        Newhaven


So it may be necessary to move these stations, or ensure they are more resilient to flooding, if their asset management considerations allow them to.


The swings to drier summers and wetter winters will lead to vulnerabilities related to their service, namely that:

·        The heat leads to an increase in secondary fires e.g. refuse and grassland fires

·        Wetter weather increases the likelihood of flooding and storms


For example the heat waves in 1976 led to a significant increase in secondary fires.


The Fire Service is not statutorily legislated to respond to flooding and it is not funded for this activity. They have relevant equipment such as dry suits for crews and are in the process of preparing a swift water response team. One of their long term considerations is to introduce training procedures for dealing with flooding. In the Hove and Eastbourne stations they have national assets for responding to flooding, including a high volume pump. This means they can respond nationally, regionally and locally to significant floods. The Service had this equipment on standby last week in case of potential flooding in Patcham. Short term considerations include:

·        Training needs

·        Safety issues

·        Tying up flood prevention advice with fire prevention advice. Previously they have offered advice on flooding to people who live in vulnerable areas.


 In relation to mitigation and adaptation they have done good work, including:

·        Reducing energy use e.g. putting condensing boilers in 24 stations

·        Putting the cleanest possible diesel engines in fire engines

·        Altering fire fighting measures e.g. using compressed air foam to minimise the amount of water used to put out a fire, which has led to a substantial reduction in water use.

·        Still looking at ways to reduce, or avoid, the use of water. This is important because it both reduces water runoff and releases pollutants into the water system. For example with barn fires they can deploy a more defensive approach which also reduces the risks to fire fighters. This approach is used in areas such as the South Downs border.

·        Engagement with the staff and public. They are keen to mainstream environmental issues and have established an employee group and champions in fire stations. 




Questions to Gary Ferrand and Keith Ring


 GMK: In your presentation you have both explained how you are adapting yourselves e.g. moving fire stations and looking at different ways of responding to events in the county that are related to climate change. How relatively easy is it to a) do your own adaptation b) adapt your responses.


Gary Ferrand (GF): We would attend events if there was the expectation of life risk e.g. vehicles trapped in a flooded area and do all in our capability to respond. However we are also obliged to balance our resources. If the Pitt Review decided that there was to be a funded body to deal with flooding, and it was to be the Fire Authority, then it would be expected that funding would be provided.


We have to meet the expectations of the community and would try to commit resources to an area that was facing

·        Life risk

·        Area risk


Gill Mitchell (GM). How would hotter summers affect your service?  I can think of it resulting in both an:

·        Increase in fires

·        Increase in visitor numbers leading to an increase in fires


GF: The greater the population, the greater the risk of fires - especially during school holidays. If there are hotter summers, then there would be an increase in numbers visiting coastal areas. Hotter summers generally result in an increase in deliberate fires, including:

·        Grass down fires –if this was on the South Downs it could be significant

·        Refuse fires  

Both of the above are classified as secondary fires as they do not involve property, but they can use a high level of resources.


GM: Do you work with Building Control and our Planners re: materials which are used? For example a few years ago there was a fire in the Van Allen building. It was reported in the newspapers that it had been caused by very hot sun shining on a carpet. So would Planning, and other services, need to specify materials that reduce the risk of fires? Are you plugged into the planning system?


GF: We work closely with the Building Research Establishment (BRE) re: fire risk of materials and keep abreast of fire hazard reports.


We expect local crews to carry out 7(2)(d) visits to gather risk information about buildings. We are closely plugged into Building Control and look at drawings of buildings to ensure that the right materials are being used for new buildings. 


Vicky Wakefield-Jarrett (VWJ): Do you have a list of vulnerable people and if you do, is it shared with other services?


GF: The Service uses Census data and MOSIAC (a social marketing tool) to predict areas where there are vulnerable people. We can share personal information with some services in the local authority, but cannot pass on names (except in exceptional circumstances). However we do work down to household levels and postcodes with our partners, and contact these people when there could be an emergency.


VWJ: Could the services be integrated? For example, if the Council knew of an elderly person in a street can they let the fire service know?


GF: This is an issue which we want to address in the next financial year, including embedding a person in the local authority to identify and share information about vulnerable people living within B&H.


GMK: It is implicit in your presentation about weighing up the risks of flood v. fire. It appears that here flooding seems to pose the greatest risk.


 GF: In terms of greatest risk and demand on resources, then flooding poses more physical obstructions when responding to the situation.


GMK:  There could be difficulties in moving appliances from East and West Sussex. How could you draw on resources from West Sussex?


GF: It is taken as read that our neighbouring fire & Rescue Services such as West Sussex would respond immediately. There are good reciprocal arrangements as a result of the ‘mutual assistance’ arrangements specified by the Fire & Rescue Services Act.


GMK: Would it be exactly the same as if the resources were under your own jurisdiction?


GF: Our control room would call on any national assets or assistance.


VWJ: Do you have any comments on the Council’s operations, either short or long term such as planning events. Are the channels of communication alright?


GF: All major events are categorised by them along with the police and local authority. The service has tight links with the Business Continuity teams e.g. looking at the threat of flooding and developing contingency plans. They are looking, with the local authorities, at the issue of refuse fires with the aim of producing long term procedures and make improvements e.g. to refuse collections.  


Thurstan Crockett, Head of Sustainability and Environmental Policy explained to the Panel that his role was as the policy lead for NI188 and the Council’s overall approach to climate change, including organising adaptation planning


The statement he provided to the Panel for this meeting explained why we are where we are. Stakeholders have historically viewed mitigation as the top priority and adaptation has been seen as:


almost an admission of defeat’.


Therefore they have argued that one should put most of the resources and effort towards mitigation. This approach had not always been helpful when considering climate change issues.


His team were currently reviewing and revising the Climate Change Action Plan and the recommendations from this scrutiny panel were timed to lead into this. In relation to his role as part of Strategy & Governance, in the Policy area, his role was to:

·        Keep on top of the science

·        Support monitoring – either through the Overview & Scrutiny Commission or a Panel/Select Committee


He believed that if at the end of the process the Panel had significant concerns about the planning or preparedness for climate change, then they should recommend a monitoring process that would address this. The greater their concerns, the greater the need for monitoring. There was also a need to work more with partners, such as the PCT.


There are areas which we need to learn more about; e.g:

·        Impacts of migration

·        Effects on city when the temperature gets hotter – which could lead to opportunities in areas such as tourism

·        Disconnect between footfall and revenue. At the moment only use blunt instruments such as car parking charges. An issue to be addressed is how can the resources be found to renew our infrastructure when it is used so frequently

·        The knowledge economy e.g. increased computer use, increased use of air conditioning and need for cooling


To date, there has not been a significant interest in climate change issues evident in the digital community. He believed that the local strategic partnership (LSP) had a significant role, as well as the City Sustainability Partnership.


Heat-related issues which he felt were had not really been explored yet included:

  • Potential health issues – including food hygiene, skin cancer and increases in airborne diseases
  • Opportunities in relation to tourism and outdoor events. Even though these have downsides such as congestion, increases in rough sleepers and renewal of infastructure 


As the lead officer for NI188 he anticipated being able to go from level 0 (along with 50% of other local authorities) to level 4 in the next few years. However this will require increased:

·        Resources

·        Planning

·        Awareness – especially an awareness of sound science


Questions to Thurstan Crockett


GMK: We have heard about the history of indifference, or hostility, to adaptation issues. Is this changing? In the last 2 years there has been greater political interest in adaptation. Has this been reflected locally?


TC: Yes. Locally the situation has moved from acceptance, to embracing it as one half of the programme for tackling climate change. The context now feels much better for working on adaptation.


GMK: As adaptation has become a major issue, is funding for adaptation taking away from funds for mitigation?


TC: No, more funds seem to be forthcoming. One example is the £275,000 that has been awarded to the Council to look at flooding planning. Where an issue is life threatening, then there is more money available.


 GM: Are there any gaps that the Panel have not yet identified? Other authorities are engaged in this work, so are we duplicating their efforts? Can we touch base with them, especially urban like-for-like?


TC: Despite strong attempts, there are still gaps in the areas which could be covered by  witnesses who have agreed to come and give evidence to the Panel, an example being public health.  The issue of migration will be discussed by Kirsten who is going to be a witness at the meeting on 26th February. The Panel will also hear from Kent County Council at the next meeting, who have done a lot of NI188 planning and are further down the road than us. They  have a better model that we can follow. Officers are also networking and attending events to look for good practice.


VWJ: You are already working on NI188, can the Panel help with this progress? Are there other areas which the Panel needs to look at?


TC: NI188 as a process indicator shows clearly what steps should be taken. What we need to do is follow that process. Behind that will be areas that we need to focus on. It is a good indicator. There is some concern about what will happen to the indicator after the election, such as losing its focus or disappearing altogether. If that happens, then the authority should still use the indicator as a strong guidance.


VWJ: How can we embed the findings of the Panel into the LSP?


TC: Brighton & Hove Strategic Partnership has undertaken to respond to the recommendations produced by the panel and participate in the process and likewise with the Climate Change Action Plan. The Partnerships Team and the Policy Unit work well on co-operation/engagement.


GMK: When trying to get to level 4 of NI188 in the next 4 years. Will this be determined by resource levels?


TC: It will be a question of both resource levels and conflicting priorities.


GMK: What do you need, more staff or more money?


TC: People with skills.


GMK: Is it a major constraint?


TC: It is a constraint, but not a major one. It is also about competing priorities. It is very noticeable among local authorities that are good at adaptation planning, such as Kirklees, are also front runners on mitigation. This suggests that these areas of work should be tackled together rather than competing against each other.


GMK: Is there any more information on public health that we need?


TC: The interaction between heat wave and exhaust emissions and their impact on air quality. This is an issue that we need to take seriously e.g. marrying the city’s transport planning and health impacts with adaptation planning. The Sussex Air Quality work, for example, helps target schools as asthmatics are alerted when the air is of poor quality. There is also a heat wave plan in place, which was used in July last year when there was a short heat wave. Its aim was to ensure that vulnerable people were OK. As already stated, health issues such as skin cancer and insect borne diseases may also need to be addressed in the future.


VWJ: How serious an issue is migration related to climate change?


TC: We hope that this issue can be addressed by our witness from Sussex University.


VWJ: How well does the heat wave plan work?


TC: I am not a public health professional and so not sure. We need to pursue this issue.


Angela Dymott, Assistant Director, Property and Design: told the Panel that her responsibilities included:

·        City architect

·        Managing and maintaining the property portfolio for the council (valued at £1.8bn)

·        Strategic asset management

·        Acting as the corporate landlord.


Her service was continuing with mitigation actions, while addressing adaptation in the following ways:

·        Raising awareness

·        Prioritising actions

·        Taking early actions


For example when looking at the building stock, there was the need to consider climate change and the demand for air conditioning. They now try to ensure that new buildings are climate resilient. The accommodation strategy includes:

·        trying to change the culture

·        find new ways of working

·        reduce the number of buildings used

·        increase flexible working (enabling more people to work from home -which was useful in the recent snow)

·        reducing staff travel

Her service also has a commitment to explain to the vulnerable what to do when the weather is very hot.


They are able to influence the majority of construction sites e.g. in terms of what will go on to the site e.g. Jubilee Library


The service has made good headway in terms of agricultural practices and the natural environment. They launched the Downland initiative to work with farmers on policies such as set aside. Following the flooding in 2000 they worked with farmers to change the way that certain fields were farmed to reduce flooding. These practices were then embedded in their tenancies. They have carried out joint working to protect the city’s water supply. They have also worked with farmers to reduce the nitrates which enter the water supply and then Southern Water has to treat it. 


Questions to Angela Dymott


GMK: You have a very wide remit.


GM: It is clear that you have learnt some lessons from the 2000 flooding and built up a good relationship with farmers. A lot of the Council’s policies have been to address mitigation, do you think that we have enough policies to address adaptation?


AD: I think that there are pockets, but not a structured plan which brings all the adaptation issues together. In terms of existing stock and refurbishment, we have a significant number of historic and listed buildings where it is very difficult to adapt. We do as much as we can, for example with routine maintenance such as clearing guttering to reduce the effects of flooding – which reduces the damage caused to buildings. We have a programme in schools to replace existing boilers with condensing boilers.


With new build it is much easier to effectively adapt to climate change. We have introduced measures such as:

·        Natural ventilation

·        Ground source heat pumps

·        Rain water harvesting, sedum roofs

·        Sustainable drainage


 VWJ: I am pleased to hear about the working relationship you have built up with the farmers.


AD:  DEFRA has just produced a low carbon guide and we will be talking to farmers about this guide. We also have a very good relationship with our agricultural agent.


VWJ: I am interested in the Urban Heat Island effects. In terms of strategic urban planning, is there enough consideration given to green spaces?


AD: Our service works closely with Planning e.g. in relation to school buildings. This will cover issues such as not removing school playing fields. In regard to the Parks strategy, we also know that we need these green areas.


GMK: With such a wide remit, what are your adaptation priorities and in which order?



·        1st - new build – as this shows what can be done and covers our new build on existing stock (which in effect is starting to change our stock)

·        2nd- farming

·        3rd – retrofitting


GMK: What is the % of new build, compared to existing stock?


AD: If one includes new extensions on existing stock, there is a considerable capital programme which is much greater than the revenue programme. If you count the extensions as part of the % etc. then you are gradually improving your stock.


GMK: What relationship do you have with the private sector?


AD: The Council has a large commercial portfolio which, through its leases, it can

·        influence

·        encourage

 to look at for example sustainability policies. For example New England House, where it was possible to both encourage and influence. But there are limited resources and it can be difficult to see results. It has proved difficult to engage key sectors, such as digital media.


VWJ: If the Council requests more conditions on planning, will it stop people coming to this city?


AD: Since the credit crunch this has been a very pertinent issue, as developers perhaps will not want to be pushed too much. When the property boom was at its height, then it should have been pushed further. The property market is very uncertain, and so feel they should not be pushed too hard.


I think that B&H have a reputation for being difficult, or demanding. Maybe this means that the balance has been struck correctly – as we do not have many sites and they need to be developed well.


GM: We have done well with the number of BREEAM sites


AD: We aim for BREEAM ‘good’ in school extensions, better than this is not normally possible because the whole school is assessed, and aim for ‘excellent’ where possible. I do not feel that we should back away from BREEAM.   


VWJ: Are BREEAM standards getting tougher?


AD: Most buildings are now expected to be ‘Excellent’


Round table discussion


TC: Behind the Fire & Rescue slides there is some information that it would be very interesting to follow up on e.g. response areas such as the zone in Patcham. It would be useful to know which scenarios they do have concerns about responding to. Are they confident about being on top of their ability to respond within 30 minutes. It would also be useful to know more about flood risk in the ’Deans and the Marina.


GMK: I think that the Panel should ask for greater elaboration about this from the Fire Service.


ML: I am struck that the Fire Service does not have statutory responsibility for flooding especially as this is seen as the greatest risk relating to climate change. What if the problems of 2007 were to happen again? What would happen if your Sussex neighbours also needed their resources?


When doing risk assessments, one needs to make a trade off about what to prepare for. How do you go about this? For instance, how much resource do you set aside to respond to very severe possible outcomes which have a very low likelihood of actually occurring? What do you see as the role of central government in those instances?


I was interested to hear that you are struggling to engage with those responsible for delivering public health. Is this a common problem? Do you have ideas on how to engage this group? Are there statutory barriers which discourage engagement? I would welcome your feedback on this issue.


GMK: According to my basic understanding on migration, research has shown that any migration following a disaster would be very local.


TC: Broad migration projections have been used to look at what would happen to Central Europe when there were increased disasters due to severe weather. This has found that such events could result in a lot of people on the move and Southern England may be a destination for a lot of people. Therefore one needs to think about what strain this could put on the infrastructure and services.


GMK: It is very unlikely that there would be mass migration from developing countries, but it could lead to migration round this country.


ML: Have you been thinking about how climate change might affect the security of your supply chains?


GMK: This is a broader issue than adaptation.


TC: The focus in this city has been on local food growing. This has been factored in a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20

Meeting: 11/01/2010 - Overview and Scrutiny Commission Ad- hoc panel on Climate Change - Completed (Item 15)

15 WITNESSES pdf icon PDF 35 KB

The Panel will hear from:


Meyrick Gough, Water Planning Strategy Manager, Southern Water

Mark Prior, Head of Sustainable Transport, Brighton and Hove City Council

Martin Eade, Coast Protection Engineer, Brighton and Hove City Council

Martin Randall, Assistant Director – City Planning, Brighton and Hove City Council


Additional documents:


a.         Meyrick Gough, Water Planning Strategy Manager, Southern Water:  made a presentation to the Panel on Climate Change and Southern Water (see attached paper or email Karen.amsden@brighton– for a copy). The aim of the presentation was to explain Southern Water (SW) perceived climate change and how the issue fed into their strategy. The company does not supply water to the whole of the South of England. They manage 10 Water Resource Zones in the South and tonight the focus was on the Sussex Brighton zone.


Their Water Resources Plan shows how SW proposes to secure water supplies for its customers during the next 25 years. The final plan was published on October 1st 2009, following an extensive consultation process on the draft plan, which was first published in May 2008.

He emphasised that the water sources in the Brighton chalk block zone were all groundwater, unlike other zones which rely on sources such as reservoirs. Groundwater was a more robust water source.

Climate change had a fourfold impact on their water management:

·        Reduces river flows and groundwater availability

·        Increases the frequency of the hot dry summers, which in turn has an impact on demand

·        Influences the future resource schemes (which they will be implementing over the next 25 years)

·        The need to reduce their carbon footprint and future footprint. Otherwise it would be a wasted investment

Water was a heavy product and this had an impact on energy demanded to move it around and CO2 emissions

He explained that SW had used different international models to make different Global Climatic Models (GCM) predictions.They were currently studying UKCP09 predictions to update their forecasts. This international information was used to develop a regional picture and then predict what would happen in Brighton & Hove (B&H). The results of the modelling work indicated that the issue of groundwater supply was not as great, but there could be a stark reduction in surface water.

When assessing demand for water and how much water to put in the supply, SW looked at:

·        Customer demand

·        Leakage

Since privatization, leakage had been reduced through active leakage control. The per capita consumption had also decreased and the demand for water had also become steady.


In relation to their demand forecast, the major effect of climate change was hotter summers. The forecast showed a very small increase in per capita consumption between 2020 and 2050. Their primary concern in B&H would be demand for water in peak times. He explained that changes in consumption had been achieved by example changing the regulations on toilet flushes.  The average toilet flush is now some 7 litres, as opposed to the 9 litres it used to be many years ago. This change has been brought about by the introduction of regulations that state that all new toilets should only flush a maximum of 6 litres of water. Other changes included the increased efficiency of white goods like washing machines and dishwashers and reduced water usage after bathroom refits, which people do every 10-15 years on average.

He explained that the graph which he had supplied on the ‘supply demand balance’ took account of climate change and population growth. The preferred strategy for Sussex Brighton included:

·        Leakage reduction

·        Universal metering

·        Inter-zonal transfers  (moving water out to supplement other zone supplies)

 The forecast which achieved a 10-15% reduction in per capita consumption (compared to the industry average of 10%) were based on the trials in Isle of Wight and universal metering. These forecasts also showed that it would be possible to reach of point of exporting water from this region to Worthing. One of their key problems was to reconcile the demands of a hot summer with the resource availability in a drought.

Questions to Meyrick Gough

GordonMacKerron (GMK): Thank you very much for the presentation and I think I will need to follow this up by sending you some further technical questions. There appears to be a lot of stability. However given the uncertainties in UKCP09, when modelling, is it valuable to think of the ‘most likely’ scenario? Is this a valuable way of thinking, and is the situation so steady that this is a valid model?

Meyrick Gough (MG): It is necessary to run with a model, but UKCP09 will come up with a breadth of possibilities. One is trying to factor in risks and climate change is one of those risks.

GMK: Is the stability due to the groundwater source?

MG: Yes, this is the reason for stability.

Gill Mitchell (GM): Will water metering reduce consumption? I understand it had a 93% coverage in the Isle of Wight and what was the impact on low income households?


MG: SW is talking to OFWAT about the social tariff and how they can help, as OFWAT approve charges on an annual basis. SW favours a ‘soft landing approach’ (SLA). The SLA means that over the first 18 months of metering, customers will be sent 3 bills. Each bill will set out how much they would normally be charged and how much the charge would be by use according to the meter. The customer will be charged the lesser amount, and if they have reduced their consumption they will receive a credit on their bill. This is intended to show them the effect of water metering. Alongside this, the customer will be offered water efficiency advice.

For households which are still struggling, then SW has put proposals to OFWAT based on the practices  of Wessex Water who have done what is possible to help customers pay what they can.

There is also a big differentiation that must be made between those who can’t pay and those who do not want to pay. This may lead to means testing.

GM: Do OFWAT negotiate with each individual water company or seek national agreements?

MG: OFWAT negotiate with each water company.

Vicky Wakefield-Jarrett (VWJ): Are the social tariffs for people who have been identified – in a similar way to categories for electricity charging?

MG: Yes.

VWJ: Then I am concerned that there would be a large group of people in this city who just miss out on qualifying for the social tariff. There is also the problem for private sector tenants, where the landlord has not carried out repairs but the tenant is blamed and/or landed with the bill.

MG: SW has come across this problem before and it is a consideration which has been included in the tariff scheme. The Customer Services team is looking at this issue now and I would be happy to provide extra information on this issue.

Tony Janio (TJ): If the majority of water is groundwater, then climate change will lead to raised sea and river levels. This in turn will reduce absorption and affect the groundwater level. Therefore there is not a lot that the council can do and you seem to be coping well. However, what about waste water? Once you get a certain volume, what will SW do?

MG: One looks at the sewer capacity and in this area there are reverse issues. It is all about the intensity of summer storms and preparing one’s capacity to deal with this. The groundwater extraction rates are fixed by the Environment Agency. The company is given a fixed licence and can only extract up to this limit. This is not my area of expertise (see evidence from Barry Luck, Sewerage Strategy Manager, Southern Water on 09.09.09)  

TJ: When dealing with certain areas in the South East, can you see whether there will be problems with reservoirs and droughts?

MG: There will still be hosepipe bans every 10 years. Other potential issues include:

·        In a period of drought, the issue of ground water availability

·        In wet periods, the level of demand will be lower

·        What will be the impact of extreme drought?

SW use records which date back to 1890, to develop potential scenarios and then impose climate change scenarios on top also.

GMK: I would be interested to see a less averaged set of figures. I am interested in the export of water and the regional strategy, and whether this in theory means that we could export water to other areas. Given that we are a water stressed region, will B&H be put under pressure to export water to Worthing?

MG: Regionally based bodies have already been developed and the Water resources solutions we develop in the South East are influenced by the regional model results. The working group which looks at this is the Water Resource in the South East of England Management group. This working group is made up of OFWAT, EA, CCW, NE and water companies. The model seeks to find the optimal solution for the customers of the South East of England. As such there is the potential to include us providing water to Kent. When such a supply is made then there is a charge for this bulk supply.

GMK: The Panel would appreciate further information on your service, as you are such a valuable part of the process.

Mark Prior, Head of Sustainable Transport, Brighton and Hove City Council: explained that he managed a very wide range of transport related services, including the development of a local transport strategy. He was also responsible for highways management which was most closely concerned by climate change. This service included:

·        Highway drainage

·        Street lighting

·        Car parking

·        Parking enforcement

The key issue for highways maintenance was the drainage of flood water. He was also the lead officer for flooding and co-ordinated the Council’s response to the flooding in Patcham and cliff falls above Asda in the Marina in 2000.  

The key policy area he was currently working on that related to climate change was the new Local Transport Plan (LTP) in conjunction with DEFRA and GOSE. This included making smarter transport choices and sustainable transport e.g. electric cars. 

 Questions to Mark Prior

VWJ: At the last Panel meeting we were presented with various models of potential flooding in Brighton & Hove. This included a shocking map of both London Road and Lewes Road and one of the Marina. What plans do you have to move transport round the city if there were such floods?

MP: In 2000 the historic nature of the infrastructure meant that after the rainfall, the drainage did not work. There was insufficient capacity to deal with flooding through the current highway drainage. The recent funding awarded for the Surface Water Management Plan could be used to look at this issue.

VWJ: If flooding was to go through those roads, are there logistics/plans e.g. to divert traffic from that area?

MP: There is the capacity to divert for an emergency, but both the Lewes Road and London Road are so important that this action could only be done on a short term basis. This issue requires longer term planning.

GM: You have significant experience due to your involvement in:

·        Cliff falls

·        Sea defence

·        Flooding

What can BHCC do through its highway renewals programme to mitigate surface water run off? In particular ice across the pavement, which shows how much water is going from the roads into drains. With the new Flood and Water Management Bill, can we build this into our strategy and planning?

MP: The new Bill will give local authorities increased powers regarding flooding. Different types of authorities own different aspects of water management:

·        Water on highways – the responsibility of BHCC

·        Water into drains – a waste water issue

·        Water from aquifers – Southern Water and the Environment Agency

·        Water from roofs

Because there are different roles and powers for each of these different organisations regarding water, the Bill intends to increase the power of local authorities.

Martin Randall (MR):  There are a range of bodies who want to receive water and pass it on. This means that there is a fundamental role for planning e.g. assessing where water lands, including roofs. Therefore some of the responsibility for mitigation rests with the planning system e.g:

·        The design of new buildings

·        Adapting existing stock – including how to lose concrete gardens


TJ: The purpose of the Panel is to consider the National Indicators. It is hard to plan for snow, in the same way as the flooding in 2000. I am concerned about how this can be paid for. Is there any indication that central government will be funding these changes?

MP: The funding for the new Plan of £275,000 will be very useful. The Surface Water Management Plan will define the shape and the extent of B&H’s problem. It will result in a costed out action plan e.g. for dealing with the problems with the Downs. This can be used to build a business case for requesting grants.

MR: It is more cost effective to put resources into planning for new developments, than putting things right e.g. the London Road.

GMK: What is the timescale of the Plan?

MP: There is an 18 month/2 year window for the funding and it has not yet been received by the Council.

GMK: At what pace is this issue being addressed and how constrained are you by lack of resources?

MP: There will be a clearer idea, once the Bill has received Royal assent. The Plan will be used to clarify and develop major projects. We have engaged framework consultants, but will try and do as much work in-house as possible. We aim to use part of the funds to implement the key measures. 

GM: How will you react to climate change generally? E.g. melting tarmac in hot summers. What adverse effect does heat have on the infrastructure? With the Scrutiny into the snow, how will this affect policy and operation in the future?

MP: Climate change will feature in long term transport planning, such as dealing with the extremes of weather. For example at 100?, we still get problems with tarmac softening and heatwaves also lead to ground movement, which can cause increasing potholes. These effects can also happen with frost penetration.

The Council’s response to the recent snow and ice is to be the subject of a Scrutiny. At present the Council plans for a certain number of treatments per winter based on 5to 10 years of actions (drawing on historic knowledge, past weather conditions and information from East Sussex). This planning has been developed over a number of years to cope with a certain winter period e.g. allowing for 30 grittings and 2 snow periods. But due to the recent cold weather, the Council has already exceeded its 30 grittings. If climate change means that we need more resources to deal with this kind of weather, this will involve:

·        More salt

·        Increased numbers of grittings


Martin Eade, Coast Protection Engineer, Brighton and Hove City Council: told the Panel that the Council could apply to DEFRA (through the Environment Agency) for capital funding towards coast protection schemes but that such funding was not generally available for works to the cliffs.

DEFRA are taking a closer interest in coastal erosion and the Environment Agency intend publishing coastal erosion risk maps based on studies they have carried out combined with information held locally.

Coastal studies carried out by local authorities can be grant aided by DEFRA and follow DEFRA guidance in the way they are prepared. They examine the coast now and 100 years ahead and can identify any necessary works to coastal defences. When the study is agreed by DEFRA/Environment Agency, an application for grant aid to implement such works can then be made.

The latest climate change projections were crucial in planning, especially:

·        Sea level rises

·        Increased storminess

Questions to Martin Eade

GMK: What is the success rate of applying for grant aid?

ME: It is a tortuous process and the review cycle for studies is generally five years. The Council is trying to begin a review into coastal defence west of the Marina and is 18 months into the application process and it is still not finished. However, they are confident of success in the end. We have never had an application refused, only delayed.

GMK: There is a concern about the A259 in relation to the cliff protection issue.  Is this a key concern?

ME: It is a critical issue, since there was a series of significant collapses in 2001that resulted in two stabilisation exercises. A research group has been set up (which has been going for four years, but has been hampered by a lack of resources) to consider safety around the cliffs and when it would be necessary to move the A259. It should be remembered that the cliffs have been collapsing for millennia and will continue to do so, we just need to know the rate.

 GM: It was fascinating to find out how coastal planning was carried out, which has led to several policies for each section of B&H. This then leads to the needs of the whole city being balanced with the needs of particular areas. I understood the University of Brighton was carrying out research into the impacts of not having the A259, but I am not sure if it includes the social and economic impacts e.g. on Woodingdean. This issue had not yet been factored into planning e.g. in the Core Strategy.

ME: The coast defences east of the Marina have been reconstructed over the last 20 years with grant aid from DEFRA. . Part of the original funding application process involved justifying this on an economic basis to DEFRA., This was done by calculating the cost of putting the A259 somewhere else and comparing the cost of the theoretical new route with the cost of defending the coast.. The choice was made to defend the coast.

GM: Bits of the cliff have been bolted, but not all – is it possible to stabilise all of the cliff?

ME: The cliffs are a Site of Special Scientific Interest and any course of action would have to be agreed with Natural England. To stabilize the whole of the cliff line would probably entail a public enquiry assuming the cost of such a project could be met by the Council.

GMK: Where are the boundaries drawn? Will climate change accelerate the changes to these boundaries?

ME: The weather is worsening the damage and the increasing intensity of weather is likely to have an impact on the cliffs.

GMK: In relation to fragmentation, can you draw on any research from other sources e.g. universities?

ME: We have been drawing on work from:

·        Hong Kong

·        Isle of Wight and others

Although geology occurs everywhere there is a limited amount of research which we can use to assist us, which is why we are undertaking our own research.

VWJ: Given that this will also affect areas such as Worthing and Newhaven, do we have a good working relationship with neighbouring local authorities?

ME: The Council is a member of a Coastal Group which stretches from Selsey to the Thames Estuary. They take a strategic approach to the issues e.g. by looking at the consequences of local schemes on adjacent areas.

TJ: Given that the Panel is considering what BHCC should be doing in relation to climate change, are there any areas which are not going well or could be done better?

ME: Until fairly recently the councils worked directly with DEFRA, who are now using the Environment Agency to carry out their regional engineering role. The Agency is struggling to get to grips with this new role.

Thurstan Crockett (TC): I gave evidence on the potential economic impact of not pinning the cliffs. Some work was done on the effects of closing the A259 and the entrance to the Marina. The University work, which is underfunded, is on what would be the impact. What forms should any intervention take?

ME: Most of my work on the research project consists of trying to find funding e.g. from INTERREG. NERC and others. There is a need to know facts to answer questions, such as when we will have to identify a new route for the A259.

GMK: The information you provided about the west, seems to show that this does not present such a challenge, although there are issues such as augmenting the beaches/groynes. What are the potential costs and risks of taking such actions?

ME: One can always defend the coast in engineering terms if you have sufficient money. But we must remember that B&H is a resort and amenity and so we have to preserve the attractiveness of the coast as well. In probability we will always be able to justify defending B&H to DEFRA on economic grounds, but BHCC may have to find the additional cost of preserving the attractiveness of the coast line.

GMK: Out of the beach and cliff issues, which one is the most important?

ME: Both are equally important, although the cliff work is more pressing at present.

GM: When are the coastal erosion maps going to be published?

ME: After the election.

Martin Randall, Assistant Director – City Planner and Paula Goncalves, Senior Planning Officer: began by emphasising that the key purpose of planning is to encourage sustainable development. Such planning roles include:

·        Sustainable patterns of land use

·        Promoting bio-diversity by adaptation and mitigation


Work on the Core Strategy was progressing, and it was now ready for submission. The report they submitted to the Panel highlighted the key areas of the Core Strategy, such as planning for growth in Flood Risk Zones (FRZ). This is because it was not possible to accommodate all developments without using FRZs, such as the Marina.

The Sustainable Design Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) 08 was moving forward to supplement the Core Strategy. It was an excellent framework for delivering sustainable design such as water neutrality and reducing the Urban Heat Island Effect. The Core Strategy aimed to reduce our vulnerability, including taking into account adaptation considerations such as sustainable transport.

Mitigation and adaptation overlap in a planning context and our report in the agenda’s papers gave examples of how to include both in the planning process and cited particular developments. It was felt to be important to monitor outcomes and more research was needed in this area.

Questions to Martin Randall and Paula Goncalves

TJ: Thank you very much for the report, but it would also be useful to see the big picture and know if we are doing enough e.g. about the Urban Heat Island Effect and  the absorption of increased water levels. Are there enough planning tools to deal with such issues?

MR: Planning alone is not the answer, we have to work closely with partners such as Southern Water - as well as other teams in the Council such as Highways. At the micro level we will not know, unless we monitor closely. Our planning mirrors the process used by Southern Water as outlined by Meyrick. It would be very useful to be able to draw on research into the specific effects of climate change on B&H, rather than regional figures alone. 

TJ: Are we carrying out monitoring to see if we are having an effect?

MR: We are monitoring each policy in the Core Strategy to check issues such as:

·        Are we using this policy?

·        Will it achieve anything? – and Paula is working with a Sustainability Checklist.

The next logical step is to find out what difference our policies have made. However this can be different for each scheme, for example the Jubilee Library is being monitored on a long term basis to check issues such as heat circulation.

Paula Goncalves (PG): A whole section of the Core Strategy is devoted to monitoring. The Sustainability Checklist has led to the accumulation of fifteen months of information. This has shown that new buildings are performing satisfactorily, but conversions less so. The need to focus on conversions has in turn informed the Core Strategy.

TJ:  Will the data you are gathering inform future changes to the Core Strategy?

MR: Absolutely, it is not intended just to wait until we develop another new policy. We have a duty to use this information as we go along. The Local Development Framework is an evolving framework and there is a responsibility to continuously update and expand it, so it represents a library of planning documents.

GMK: One of the difficulties of climate change adaptation is the uncertainty of what form it will take. Does the Sustainability Checklist take into account adaptation?

PG: The contents and questions relate to climate change adaptation, but do not include the wording specifically.

GMK requested a copy of this checklist. Information about the checklist can be accessed at Paula Goncalves has offered to arrange a session, or make individual appointments, to run the checklist pass any Panel members interested in seeing how it works. Especially considering access to the planner section is restricted to council officers working in Development Control and Planning Policy

TJ: All the information you are gathering sounds as though it will help us, for example in meeting NI188.

MR: This joined up working has included input into the Sustainability team. The checklist:

·        Provides monitoring information

·        Is an easy tool for the development industry

It was started with SEEDA and was intended as an exemplar which other authorities have started to use. The checklist provides a practical guide for developers and covers areas such as:

·        Water features

·        Reflective surfaces

GM: With the right policy lead and decision making, it seems to be easy to bring this into new developments. However, the struggle seems to be with retro-adaptation. Government funding has been pledged, but can there be a local lever?  E.g. when considering a planning application for a new roof, to use this process to request other actions?


MR: We are not there yet, and this may need a specific adaptation Supplementary Planning Document. For example, we can tell people who come to us with applications that when we are determining it, we can use the planning system to lever finance from developers to improve the existing building stock and help to supplement existing programmes such as those designed to alleviate fuel poverty. It is important to promote best practice and the council has been active for example in the Eco Homes open day programme. 

PG: The Core Strategy has a framework to inch towards and this addresses conversions.

VWJ: I am please to see that there is an overlap between adaptation and mitigation, for example with heating. Hotter summers could lead to an increased demand for air conditioning, so planning for not having it would be good. 

1) Are there any plans to refresh the sustainable SPD or a timetable to improve the Eco Homes code level?

2) Is there any scope for an SPD on adaptation, for example the increased possibility of fires?

3) In relation to schools, with a new primary school planned, issues will need to be addressed such as classroom temperatures and air flow levels. Such a development would need to be a prime example of excellence

MR: One Brighton is a fantastic example of a residential development. With the Library, it was planning for one large space, but One Brighton had to satisfy the needs of 70+ apartments, along with a community area and a business space.

Regarding your question 2) An SPD on adaptation is a realistic prospect, but may be in the broader context of sustainable design. Examples of adaptation include such planning decisions as the Amex building, which is excellent on adaptation- though only a BREEAM ‘very good’.

3) The Building Schools for the Future programme (BSF)

 places sustainability at the top of its agenda. There are a number of school additions which have promoted high standards and the involvement of our architects.

GMK: There is a potential conflict between the need to develop and the flood risk zones. How does the Council approach this trade off?


MR: When looking at areas such as Shoreham Harbour or the Marina, this relates to two key areas:

·        Looking at which different areas in those zones that have a lower risk of flooding

·        Where best to situate the social, economic and physical infrastructure

GMK: Given the need to make this kind of trade off when 2/3rds of Shoreham is in Adur, how closely do we work with this authority?

MR: We have a close working relationship and plan together on a joint basis. If there can be any benefit that comes from being a flood risk area, it is that at a technical level we can contain it and predict future risk more easily than if it was a river valley in Gloucestershire, for example. There is a sense of containment in such areas, such as the large scale proposals for the Marina plan for a 1:200 year storm event.

TJ: Is our monitoring and putting so many requirements regarding issues such as climate change, stifling the development of the city?

MR: It is easy to add another requirement and this is a tendency in Planning. We need to be clear that we do not over-burden the development industry particularly in the present economic circumstances. We must ensure when asking for contributions from developers, that we are clear on our priorities. Climate change cannot be other than the highest priority, which means perhaps we do not need to ask for contributions for other aspects.

GMK: Planning is one of the key adaptation areas. You have done significant work to include adaptation, has this required extra resources or can you embed it in your every day business?

MR: We have had to develop greater expertise and needed extra training. It has also meant the need to work closely with other colleagues such as Martin Eade and Mark Prior. We could do with extra money and accept that we are not  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15

Meeting: 02/12/2009 - Overview and Scrutiny Commission Ad- hoc panel on Climate Change - Completed (Item 10)

10 WITNESSES pdf icon PDF 30 KB

The Panel will hear from:


Graham Tubb: Head of Energy Policy, SEEDA

Jorn Peters: Regional Planner, South East England Partnership Board

Tony Whitbread: Chief Executive, Sussex Wildlife Trust


Attached papers:

  1. Biographies of Graham Tubb and Jorn Peters
  2. Jorn Peters: Regional planning addressing climate change adaptation
  3. Tony Whitbread: Weathering the changes
  4. Tony Whitbread: Ecosystem assessment, climate change and the value of biodiversity



Additional documents:


Jorn Peters, Regional Planner, South East England Partnership Board: introduced himself by saying he had been a regional planner for the South East England Regional Assembly which had now been superseded by the South East England Partnership Board. Mary Mears sat on the South East England Partnership Board.


He is a town planner, so his focus was on spatial planning issues. His aim today was to:


  • Provide a regional context for Brighton & Hove (B&H)
  • Describe good practice
  • Highlight the guidance that the Assembly and the Partnership Board have produced


The Partnership Board was implementing its current Regional Spatial Strategy (South East Plan) which sets out a 20 year framework for the development of the region, as well as working on a new single Regional Strategy. This represented an integration of the current regional spatial and economic strategies and the Government expected a clear focus on climate change.


The current development of a regional vulnerability assessment would provide evidence for how to address climate change adaptation in the new strategy. A key aim was to identify particular vulnerabilities in the region, for example:


  • critical infrastructure, which had recently been disrupted by severe weather
  • flood risk areas
  • vulnerable groups in deprived communities
  • areas that lack urban green, so could lead to urban overheating


This information would be used as evidence to inform the prioritisation of growth and the type and location of adaptation measures.


He hoped that the Partnership Board’s approach can inform any assessment that B&H undertakes of its own vulnerabilities. The city could also look at the Board’s information to compare how we perform against other areas, in the region, in relation to our vulnerability and preparedness for climate change impacts.


Good areas of performance for B&H included:


·        level of provision of hospitals and emergency rest centres


Poorer areas of performance for B&H included:


  • % of people living in deprived communities
  • % of old people in poor health
  • Extent of urbanisation


Jorn was working with Hastings on a European project (in conjunction with the Netherlands and Germany) to explore amongst other activities how to assess urban heat and its potential impact. Details of the project can be seen at


He believed that local authorities needed some help to implement the policies in the South East Plan. They would also benefit from technical advice on making new developments resilient i.e. greening the development.


The Partnership Board was always looking for good examples of policies and the recently published draft replacement London Plan (for details see ) included for example:


  • Targets for surface area to be made porous/greened over in a specific timeframe
  • Establishing a drainage hierarchy from storage (preferable) to sewer discharge


Beyond technical guidance the Partnership Board could provide organisational guidance. For example on the use of Sustainability Appraisals to integrate adaptation considerations into the planning process and the use of partnership working to overcome cross-sectoral barriers to climate change adaptation.


Questions to Jorn Peters


Gordon MacKerron (GMK): agreed that it is a challenge to integrate regional economic and spatial strategies. It was valuable to hear about the project in Hastings which was addressing the urban heat issue. This is also relevant to B&H due to our urban density. He is glad that adaptation measures were being prioritised, but we are keen to prioritise adaptation processes. What were the differences?


JP: The technical aspects, such as increasing the resilience of new developments, are adaptation measures but processes, for example in terms of partnership working, have to be prioritised as well in light of limited resources. There are a lot of different things that can be done to adapt to climate change.


The assessment of vulnerabilities can enable one to focus on the right adaptation measures. For example if urban heat is a bigger issue than flood risk in a specific area, then one can get developers to focus on reducing urban heat.


Gill Mitchell (GM): felt that the evidence from Jorn was very timely as hopefully next week Council would be agreeing its Core Strategy, which has sustainability at its core. Why were urban/deprived areas more vulnerable to urban heat?


JP: Deprived communities were more likely to lack the means and resources to adapt to climate change impacts like extreme heat. If an area is affluent then it will have more resources to carry out measures to address flooding or prevent the overheating of buildings, such as:


  • Ventilation
  • Improving the condition of the building
  • Using resilient materials


Affluent green or rural areas were less likely to have a problem with overheating. In a dense urban or land-locked area, such as London or Oxford, people would suffer more in extreme weather events such as a heatwave. As B&H was situated by the sea, it should make it easier for the city to deal with urban heat.


Through the work in the European ‘Future Cities’ project they have also learnt that one could consider keeping air channels free from development, to enable the fresh air from the sea or the surrounding countryside to circulate.


Thurstan Crockett (TC): said that we do have an urban grid design that helps us with air channels from the sea.


Vicky Wakefield-Jarrett (VW-J): asked about the provision of emergency rest centres.


JP: Data was available from the Environment Agency and they can be used for people who have to be evacuated during serious events such as a flood to provide shelter for a limited time.


TC: Hove Town Hall was a building that was used for such a purpose.


Tony Janio (TJ): stated that he was not big on regional planning. In relation to the Local Development Framework, what powers do you have in relation to BHCC, DEFRA and the EA? In addition, how could you help us?


JP: Our South East Plan climate change policy (CC2) set out a planning framework for BHCC planners. The BHCC plans have to be in line with the South East Plan. The Partnership Board can also provide case studies and guidance to enable BHCC to comply with their plan. The Partnership Board has a large planning team compared to individual local authorities and staff can specialise and therefore provide a high level of expertise. They also have a close relationship with the Environment Agency and DEFRA.


TJ: Can you provide cross-boundary information?


 JP: We talk to regional/national bodies who are experts in climate change, we look for good practice in local authorities and we disseminate what we learn from them. Climate change is a field which is quickly developing and we need to continue to share the latest research and policy examples.


GMK: I am interested in the prospects for jointly working with East and West Sussex. Do you provide guidance on joint working?


JP: Whilst not always explicitly stated in our policies, we generally encourage cross border working. In our Regional Flood Risk Appraisal for example, we encourage Local Authorities to work co-operatively to address flood risk, in particular where river catchments go across boundaries.


Tony Whitbread, Chief Executive of the Sussex Wildlife Trust: introduced himself by saying that he had worked for the Trust for 20 years and his aim tonight was to provide the context for the 2 documents he had provided for the Panel in the agenda papers for today’s meeting.


His second paper provided information on the benefits of nature conservation and why biodiversity was important. A healthy biodiversity was an indicator that an ecosystem was working well. It was a building block to conserving nature, which was essential to providing the services we all rely on.


His first paper ‘Weathering the changes’, which can be found at is based on a document produced by DEFRA which has been fine tuned for Sussex. It looks at adaptation and the natural environment. There were 4 principles to making the environment adaptable to nature, which recognised that nature is dynamic:


·        Conserve what you have and save the best e.g. nature reserves and sites of nature conservation interest

·        Don’t damage it any more

·        Create a robust and varied landscape. A lot can be done to make an area adaptable to change. An area with a varied vegetation structure will provide varied conditions for different species so, for example a heat-sensitive species can simply move from a sunny spot to a shady one, rather than have to migrate north. Varied local landscapes are important

·        These first 3 are most important, but establishing ecological networks would also allow larger scale movement and migration, so allowing the continued functioning of nature in the long term. Overall the key need is to allow space for nature so it can move, migrate and adapt.


Professor John Lawton (Chair of an independent commission on ecological networks) gave a talk at a recent national Wildlife Trusts AGM in which he emphasised that the environment is going to change as a result of climate change. The above principles therefore needed to be used to develop Biodiversity action plans and environmental adaptation strategies.   Nature conservation was important in its own right, but these four principles would help adaptation and so the continual provision of ecosystem services on which we all depended.


Questions to Tony Whitbread


TJ: Thank you for showing how the sustainability role deals with biodiversity. I had not previously thought of climate change and nature, due to focussing only on its effects on people. Should we move what is here northwards? Or should we adapt our local area to what is now in Northern France – to ensure the biodiversity of our region?


TW: If one builds the right landscape, then nature will adapt itself. To do this we need high quality joined up green spaces. One may not be able to predict the future, but one needs to give space for nature.


VW-J: I can see that making space for nature can be integrated into planning, what role do you see for BHCC?


TW: You have limited space, which means that multiple objectives need to be achieved in one area. Therefore it is not possible to partition off areas for specific special interests, but make space so that objectives such as flood management, health, recreation and biodiversity can all be achieved in one area.


GMK: We are blessed with biodiversity, but would like to encourage this in new developments. There is a struggle to encourage/foster biodiversity in new developments. What would you advise, or would you rather that the space was left alone and not developed on?


TW: You should look at your current strengths such as the importance of your chalk grassland and the colonisation of butterflies and how this could be linked up to other areas. For example, Dorothy Stringer School has created an area of chalk grassland the size of a room which has drawn in butterflies. While physical connectivity is important, stepping stones are even more important. Then relatively small areas can add up to a whole significant area.


TJ: We have been exploring going for Urban Biosphere status for the City by UNESCO. Could this help?


TW: This work should be central. Establishing green infrastructure and interconnected spaces in urban areas leads to an urban biosphere.


GMK: I can see the conflicts that could arise between a limited range of possibilities. How do you resolve conflicts between multiple objectives?


TW: Direct conflicts arise when there are irreplaceable habitats. However, there may be some areas where one can vary habitats. So the constructive way forward is to look for multiple wins. One example is with urban heat island effects. These arise in land locked towns and can be removed by 20% of an area being green space. However, as a coastal town this is not as relevant to B&H.


GMK: How do your objectives deliver adaptation to climate change? For example, flood amelioration.


TW: This is a challenge. New rivers appeared in the heavy flooding of 2000 and it was a challenge to identify space needed for this water to go. This is exacerbated by the fact that flood amelioration needs to happen across other authorities’ boundaries.  


TJ: What about green roofs, do they help?


TW: One example is the Rolls Royce building in Chichester, one of the biggest in Europe. It has nesting areas, lots of flowering plants and space for bees. This increases the elements of biodiversity and delays the run off of water.


Graham Tubb, Head of Energy Policy at SEEDA: told the Panel that he would outline SEEDA’s approach to Climate Change Adaptation and briefly describe the work of Climate South East. SEEDA’s boundaries ranged in a clockwise direction from Milton Keynes to the Thames Estuary. Their primary focus was to improve the economic performance of the region. However their remit also contained sustainable performance.


SEEDA had come to a gradual acceptance of the need for climate change mitigation and was now looking at adaptation in areas such as:


·        infrastructure

·        built environment

·        business continuity


It could have gone further, but they were working with the perceptions and understanding of the business community. He believed that climate change adaptation planning needed to be based upon:


·        costs

·        impact

·        risks

·        vulnerability


However this would pose problems when engaging with businesses. There was not a high understanding of the business benefits of adaptation work. Climate change adaptation had not a been a high level consideration and the main way in which he had been involved has been in supporting Climate South East (the south east climate change partnership).


Their work on sustainable construction had been linked to climate change mitigation e.g.


·        Reducing waste

·        Improving the efficiency of resource use


This work, had then led to a better understanding of the need for climate change adaptation. The Regional Economic Strategy (2006) had 2 relevant component policies:


·        Resilience to climate change

·        Promoting and supporting new developments that support climate change adaptation


He was involved in promoting the importance of environmental technologies for the benefit of the region, both economically and for the environment. SEEDA was now refocusing its targets, including:


  • Delivering through partnership
  • Delivering key technologies e.g. green technologies


SEEDA had identified diamonds of growth and were offering a web based Wiki support tool for local authorities e.g. to reduce their ecological footprint. This web based guidance included a catalogue of carbon reduction initiatives. One of the areas it covered is indicator NI188 on adaptation. Local authorities could register as a user and SEEDA hoped that it will be a useful tool.


Their Single Regional Strategy will address Climate Change Adaptation e.g. engagement with NI188. The government will require SEEDA to address this issue. SEEDA had a green economy escalation programme e.g. a region-wide retro fit programme for public buildings, which BHCC is participating in. They hoped to apply the lessons learnt from this afterwards, to housing.


While Climate Change Adaptation had not been a key element of SEEDA’s policies, the infrastructure of the organisation etc., had contributed to exploring this issue. SEEDA was no longer responsible for regeneration.



Climate South East (CSE)


Graham Tubb told the Panel that CSE was established in 1999 and arose from an initial report on climate change impact on the region. Brighton and Hove City Council had previously been a member of CSE but was no longer a member.


Having identified key sectors of importance to the region, if it was appropriate, then they developed adaptation plans for key sectors. The sector groups included:


  • Business
  • Health
  • Communities


The primary focus was on adaptation, but there was some work on mitigation. One focus had been on adaptation and land use, including the ESPACE project in Hampshire. They have worked with small businesses to extend risk management to factor in climate risk e.g. flood damage to their business records. They have produced a report for Company Directors on their responsibilities and climate change.


The Global Investors Group had taken a strong line and will warn investors against companies whose boards who do not take Climate Change into account. (see Your Home in a Changing Climate (London)



CSE was being transformed. Having been funded by subscription, it was now a Community Interest Company with access to funding.


Questions to Graham Tubb


VW-J: I appreciate that you are encouraging businesses to consider both adaptation and mitigation, but feel that if you are enticing people in with mitigation – that this is the wrong way in. What are the main risks of climate change to businesses such as BHCC?


GT: Businesses usually have a 2 year horizon, rather than the 10 years which is needed. They also tend to see it as planning to deal with bad weather. However, businesses need to see it as an issue which extends beyond the horizon of normal risk management. In respect of using mitigation as a tool for getting people in, this issue has been sold to businesses as ‘good housekeeping’ rather than saving the planet. They have been engaging businesses on issues such as:


  • Water use
  • Waste reduction


Once they have managed to engage with these businesses on mitigation issues, they then raise adaptation issues such as;


was your business affected by bad weather?’


They feel that by focussing on localised, small scale risks then this can serve as an indication to businesses of what is to come.


VW- J: What are the major sectors in B&H? For example Amex, does it have specific climate change issues?


GT: They have lots of staff, so transport will be a key issue. They are a multi-national organisation, so rely on the good storage of records. We would like to be able to engage big businesses and get them encourage good practices from their smaller suppliers. This is because small businesses have a limited amount of time to engage on issues such as climate change.


TJ: I do not understand the difference between resilience and adaptation. Also, other bodies are also doing these things to help businesses. So what can SEEDA do for B&H?    


GT: We offer a regional focus. There is an Area Director who understands B&H. SEEDA has an annual £160m budget and can channel resources to key issues. They also work closely with DEFRA. They are able to lobby for the region e.g. getting money for Research and Development for wind energy work on the Isle of Wight. Partnership is our ethos.


TJ: How could you help us with our adaptation plan?


GT: We can offer the regional focus.


GMK: The importance of their connections with business. However, it is difficult when it is not obvious what the business aspects of adaptation are.


GT: There are 6 sector teams in SEEDA and I am responsible for the Environmental Technologies team. The issues include:


  • Attracting new environmental industries into the region 
  • helping existing businesses to expand


They have sector development staff which are able to assist fast growing businesses and encourage them to develop. Climate change adaptation can be helped by these environmental technologies.


Justin Butler, Managing Director, Ambiental,

told the Panel that they had produced flood map models for BHCC. They were producing a flood map for the whole of the UK, down to buildings.


He had set up Ambiental in 2002, following a career in environmental consultancy. It started from an offshoot in Cambridge University. They were based in the Sussex Innovation Centre and provided a range of services including high resolution flooding risk assessments for:


  • Sea water/coastal flooding
  • River flooding
  • Dam burst
  • Groundwater
  • Surface water   


They were able to identify these risks down to the level of specific developments, and undertook this work both home and abroad. They did a lot of work with GIS and then communicated and analysed the flood risks identified. The company also assessed the risks of other perils such as terrorism and subsidence.


The flood risk slides that they were showing to the Panel tonight were derived from computer-based modelling of multiple flood sources including:


  • London pluvial flood maps
  • Cambridge river burst modelling
  • Hull – pluvial / surface water flooding following the major events in 2007


In 2007, £3bn had been lost to pluvial flooding. Climate change meant that flooding was becoming more intense and lasting longer and bringing greater rainfall in winter. Research from Durham had found that that there have been flood-rich and flood-poor decades. We were in a flood rich period at the moment which began in the late 80’s and could continue for another 20-30 years. The validation of the model for B&H, came from tests carried out using recorded flood data from Hull City Council and was 80% accurate by this. Ambiental had now modelled every major city in the UK and their maps were now being used to respond to the heavy rainfall recently. Their maps included topography from INTERMAP and information from the Environment Agency.


The slides of Brighton and Hove showed that there were pockets of risk in Shoreham, Portslade and Hove. There was a channel which included:


  • Wellsbourne - an intermittent river that used to flow down what is now the London Road. Old Steine (which used to be Old Marsh Land)
  • London Road
  • Saltdean


In a scenario of 300mm in 24 hours – the Cockermouth event transposed to Brighton and Hove. This would present particular problems for emergency services (e.g. Preston Circus Fire Station) and businesses. The challenges were to communicate risk and develop resilience. This was concerning as B&H did not think that it was at risk of flooding. Coastal flooding could increase as the sea level rose. Ambiental needed to work with Southern Water to find out more information about drainage issues.


His organisation also worked with architects to look out how climate change would impact on rainfall. He hoped that the proposed Flood Management Bill would gain assent. This would place a strong onus on local authorities to take flood risk into greater consideration. Local authorities needed to build capacity in relation to:


  • Interpretation of risk
  • Development of drainage policies
  • Understanding the impermeability of B&H - as increasing the coverage of impermeable surfaces (e.g. tarmac’d drives; new developments etc) can increase local flood risk under conditions of increasing rainfall.


 There was a need to:


  • Identify risks
  • Rank them
  • Identify costed solutions


The following actions needed to be undertaken pro-actively before a flooding incident happened:


  • Where possible, relocate critical infrastructure to lower risk areas
  • Identify emergency planning/evacuation routes
  • Re-interpret annual probabilities to understand what, say, a 1:100 year event would mean for B&H. This was important bearing in mind that Hull had two 1:100 year storms in one week


Questions to Justin Butler


GMK: I am interested in accuracy issues. An 80% accuracy level is very high. Given that you need drainage data for B&H, how accurate is your pluvial map?


JB: We have undertaken a number of tests both including and excluding drainage. In a 1:75 year event the drainage system rapidly becomes overwhelmed. Drainage becomes a minor issue in such significant weather events.


GM: B&H is vulnerable in terms of run-off from the Downs. Has this been taken into account?


JB: Each cell is in 5m grid squares. Overland flow and routeing from hills has been taken into account.


GM: One solution could be the creation of ground water levees to take the water down and out to the sea.


JB: There are a lot of potential solutions. Ambiental are undertaking a project in the Middle East where they are taking an optioneering approach to choosing between dam solutions. Here novel techniques can each be evaluated e.g. permeable surfaces. These can include both hard design solutions and sustainable awareness. There is also the need to raise awareness of risks.


VW-J: My initial observations are the effects on the transport links and the academic corridor. Following a flood in an area of high social housing (for example Moulescomb), the council may experience a high number of applications for emergency social security grants.


TJ: At the beginning of this Panel we assumed that 2? would happen and so we must assume that these random events will occur. You imply that we need to either build our capacity e.g. increase the number of green roofs or set up more emergency centres e.g. for police and fire brigade to deal with when we are under 2ft of water. Are you saying that we should move key services, such as the NHS, now – or what is the timescale?


JB: A serious event could happen tomorrow. An important part of adaptation is business continuity and relocation. One should ensure that the continuity of business / relocation location is away from the HQ and / or is not susceptible to the same flooding mechanism (e.g. pluvial/ surface water flood).


TJ: I am assuming that insurance businesses have started to undertake this kind of work for private businesses.


GMK: This will inform any questions we have to the Association of British Insurers. Insurance could be the cattle prod for businesses.


GM: As local authorities produce their Surface Water Action Plan, the robustness of the plans should include whether there is the need to move essential businesses and the need for more forward planning. This could lead to nervousness about house prices.


JB: There is a duty of care to advise potential businesses. To advise people of simple methods to deal with flood events e.g. air brick protection.


TJ:  There is a need to warn business in advance. However a balance needs to be struck between warning and scaring people.


JB: Panic of a sort has happened when developers see the focus on zonal priorities and its impact on their proposals. However I have not come across  general panic.


TJ: Can you talk to our regional planners about not overdeveloping in this region?


Round table discussion


JP: with the new Regional Strategy, the focus is on developing the evidence so that we know where the problems are and can distribute future growth accordingly. Ambiental, is your data publicly available to inform regional and local planning?


JB: We licence out the data and so it is available now yes.


TW: One often thinks about extreme events, but what is extreme now, will become normal. E.g. measures such as increasing surface roughness can help by reducing run off. Which shows the need to bring agendas together such as biodiversity and flood risk. This would then lead to multiple benefits.


TJ: There are a myriad of means through which emergency adaptation measures could be progressed.


JB: Public acceptability is an issue. Lakes and water detention ponds work well in Holland as they are used to seeing water ponding, but in UK it is seen as a health and safety risk.


TC: What is important is who we hear from next in BHCC, particularly re: flood risk management and planning. We now need to hear more about what we are actually doing, in order to identify the gaps. For example the Eco Town status recently awarded to a proposed development at Shoreham Harbour looks to be in a vulnerable area, according to the evidence from Ambiental, and the implications need to be considered.


GT: It is encouraging that the Panel is taking a comprehensive approach as well the focus on adaptation, especially when five years ago this was seen as a sign of climate change denial. You are a pioneer for others to follow.


TW: It has been important to be invited to talk about environmental adaptation.


TJ: B&H is not just an urban area, there is the National Park and farms.


JP: It would be interesting to explore the potential conflict between urban green space (as an adaptation measure) and density (to accommodate growth) – On the issue of the most vulnerable business sectors, that are potentially those that depend to some extent on the weather and/or high water use – such as tourism and agriculture..


TJ: What is the difference between resilience and adaptation?


TW: Two concepts could be included in adaptation, resistance and resilience. Resistance refers to the tendency to oppose a change, for example a habitat not changing in character in spite of the forces acting against it; resilience refers more to responding with change so a habitat may change its structure and composition but still retain its essential qualities.


Meeting: 20/10/2009 - Overview and Scrutiny Commission Ad- hoc panel on Climate Change - Completed (Item 10.)

10. WITNESSES pdf icon PDF 35 KB

The Panel will hear from:


Graham Tubb: Head of Energy Policy, SEEDA

Jorn Peters: Regional Planner, South East England Partnership Board

Thurstan Crockett: Head of Sustainability & Environment, Brighton & Hove City Council


Additional documents:


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