£1 million of funding to combat flooding and overheating in Southwark

6 February 2024

Southwark Council will invest £1 million in climate change projects that will protect the borough’s most vulnerable areas against the worst impacts of the climate crisis. This announcement is to help deliver the Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy, which after a period of consultation in the autumn, has been adopted by cabinet.

As the impact of the climate emergency intensifies, the council is taking decisive action to protect residents from the current and future impacts of the changing climate. While it remains steadfast in its commitment to be a carbon-neutral borough by 2030, it is acknowledging the need to prepare as international responses to the issue lag and the impacts continue to affect communities globally.

The consultation for the strategy heard from residents and businesses in the borough about the impacts of climate change that are already being felt. The findings painted a vivid picture for the importance of this strategy in Southwark. Changes have included new, targeted actions which will support communities which are the most vulnerable to climate change, and in many cases are already experiencing the worst impacts. This has been backed-up by £1 million of funding to spend on key projects in these climate vulnerable areas to help address things such as flooding and overheating.

A detailed action plan has been produced with a number of actions that build on resident feedback – such as developing an approach to address ‘hot homes’ in the borough. Something also highlighted by engagement with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, whose landmark study revealed the escalating effects of summers on UK housing

The strategy defines how the council will continue to protect communities, homes, infrastructure, and the environment from the physical impacts of climate change. This includes extreme weather such as heat and flooding, risks to water and food supply as well as the emergence of new pests and diseases. The borough-wide strategy sets out how the council will:

  • Future-proof the borough’s buildings, streets, and critical infrastructure
  • Work with others to prepare, plan, and respond to challenges and shocks
  • Improve the borough at the same time, such as by improving air quality and biodiversity and reducing inequalities

Given the urgency of the climate emergency, Southwark Council has already taken action to strengthen resilience locally including the reshaping of planning policy for new buildings to minimise overheating, additional sustainable urban drainage schemes, increased planting programmes, and enhanced emergency planning to effectively respond to residents in times of need.

Councillor James McAsh, Cabinet Member for the Climate Emergency, Clean Air and Streets, said: “We must prepare for an uncertain future. We cannot sit back and wait for the worst to happen before taking urgent action to protect local people – particularly the most vulnerable – from the real impacts of a changing climate.

“While significant work has gone on locally to strengthen our resilience including improved flood alleviation schemes and changes to planning policy, we will now be able to better target this work with a strategy and action plan informed by the experiences of our residents.”

To read more about Southwark's resilience and adaptation strategy, please visit the Southwark Council website. The updated strategy and associated cabinet papers are also available to view.  

Page last updated: 06 February 2024

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