William Eichler 06 March 2023

Council climate plans failing vulnerable people

Council climate plans failing vulnerable people image
Image: 3rdtimeluckystudio/Shutterstock.com.

Most councils across Europe are failing to consider the needs of vulnerable people sufficiently when planning for climate change, according to a study published today.

A new study involving Nottingham Business School (NBS), part of Nottingham Trent University, has found that only 167 out of 327 European cities had full urban adaptation plans by the end of 2020.

Cities in the UK were the most likely to have adaptation plans by the end of 2020, followed by Poland, France, and Germany.

The research, led by University of Twente in the Netherlands, foun that the general quality of plans, as well as their overall degree of consistency, improved between 2005 and 2020.

It also discovered that recent plans were more likely to mention the potential impacts of climate change on vulnerable groups.

However, plans got worse over time in terms of detailing measures that particularly address vulnerable people, and very few cities involve children, people on low-incomes, and the elderly in developing their policies, or propose monitoring and evaluating whether council initiatives reduce their exposure to climate threats.

Dr Peter Eckersley, senior research fellow in Public Policy and Management at NBS, said: ‘We saw that between 2005 and 2020, adaptation plans got better in aligning goals with impacts and risks, but this is still not done comprehensively. In addition, plans focus more on vulnerable sectors and industries than on the needs of vulnerable groups of citizens.

‘Vulnerable groups are rarely involved in participation processes and the vast majority of plans make no mention of monitoring and evaluation to address their specific needs. Cities have to start taking the specific needs of these people into account.’

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