Defra conducted a public dialogue to understand public attitudes towards climate adaptation in England in response to the Climate Change Committee’s recommendation. The findings informed the third National Adaptation Programme, launched on July 17, 2023. The dialogue involved 120 participants from various locations across England and was overseen by Defra in partnership with UKRI’s Sciencewise Programme.

The six-stage deliberative dialogue involved 112 participants from four locations in England, including online workshops, an online community, and a national summit. Experts provided guidance, information, and feedback throughout the dialogue process.

The final research report, “Public Dialogue on Climate Adaptation”, has now been published and highlights low awareness amongst participants of adaptation and current progress, coupled with a a strong emotional reaction to future climate scenarios.

With regard to addressing climate risks, participants preferred social measures like education, ecosystem-based solutions, and institutional and technological measures over more extreme measures like relocation, regarded as a high-impact last resort. Discussion included challenges to implementation, including cost, government support, public opinion, and housing. Participant decision-making factors included risk level, impact on vulnerable populations, cost and effectiveness, and future uncertainty.


Read the project summary and Final Report for Defra/Sciencewise.

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