Climate change

Midlands Highway Alliance (MHA) was keen on both understanding and responding to climate change and extreme weather risks for a number of years.

An original review of climate change risks by the 3 Counties Alliance Partnership (3CAP – Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire County Councils) was conducted in 2009 (ref 1) and subsequently updated in 2010/11 to reflect the progress made by the three authorities and to incorporate updates in climate change legislation and climate science (ref 2). A further review was undertaken in 2013/14 to capture any additional measures undertaken by the three authorities in adapting their highway networks, and an assessment of how the wider MHA could benefit from a collaborative approach to climate change adaptation and resilience building through collaborative and partnership working.

In 2015, the MHA again commissioned AECOM Infrastructure & Environment UK Ltd to undertake targeted and focussed engagement with MHA authorities to identify, capture and share examples of how individual MHA authorities are taking action to understand and prepare their highway networks for the future impacts of climate change and an increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events. The output of this project was an evidence base, which promotes a collaborative approach to building resilience to the impacts of climate change and extreme weather, which is nationally applicable and transferable and can be showcased as an example of good practice in the transport sector (ref 3). It is applicable to all MHA authorities and takes into account differences in climate, geography, drivers, policies and standards.

A series of opportunities were also identified for consideration and implementation by MHA authorities to enhance climate change resilience, along with providing multiple, wider benefits. These recommendations include:

  • the development of Adaptation Risk Registers and Action Plans;
  • the development of Flood Risk Partnerships and Local Resilience Forums;
  • the inclusion of climate change considerations and objectives within Local Transport Plans;
  • the development of flood management guidance and toolkits to enhance community preparedness;
  • the adaptation and adoption of operational responses, such as enhanced and targeted maintenance regimes;
  • the trialling of different (more climate resilient) materials and technologies;
  • the implementation of SuDS on a wider scale;
  • the expansion of the blue and green infrastructure network; and,
  • revisions to winter service operations and strategies.

The effects of climate change on 3CAP’s highway network policies and standards – phase 2 March 2011

2 MHA CCA Report Final November 2015