The United Kingdom’s Most Significant Climate Policies of 2023

3rd National Adaptation Programme (NAP3)


The most significant climate policy in the United Kingdom in 2023 is the third National Adaptation Programme (NAP3), outlining the government’s objectives for adapting to climate change over the next five years. This programme is a continuation of the UK’s evolving climate change policy, aiming to address the impacts of climate change and meet the country’s legally binding climate targets. NAP3 involves various government departments, including the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the Cabinet Office, and the Climate Change Committee (CCC). It is a national programme that is part of the UK’s comprehensive efforts to prepare for and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

NAP3, impacting the country’s entire population, is designed to address the risks identified in the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) and deliver on the government’s objectives for climate change adaptation. It includes key long-term and shorter interim targets to drive sustained natural and environmental improvement. The programme aims to strengthen the evidence base for the impacts of climate change on health and take clear and decisive action to maintain the UK’s resilience to climate change over the next five years.

Some of the key goals include:

Boosting Resilience to Climate Change: NAP3 prioritises enhancing resilience to climate change and mitigating the harm caused by recurring flooding, droughts, and increasing heat waves experienced in the country.

Protecting Infrastructure: The program aims to safeguard infrastructure, homes, businesses, and cultural heritage against climate change risks such as flooding, drought, and heatwaves.

Promoting a Greener Economy: NAP3 is designed to foster a greener economy and ensure resilient food production, aligning with the UK’s commitment to achieving net zero and reducing emissions.

Dedicated Local Climate Projections Service: The programme provides a dedicated local climate projections service to each upper-tier local authority to help them prepare for and respond to the impacts of climate change.

Business Readiness for Climate Impacts: Through the Green Jobs Taskforce, the government will identify the skills needed for the UK to transition to net zero and assess business readiness for climate impacts.

Addressing Existing Housing Stock: NAP3 acknowledges the need to address existing housing stock to tackle the impacts of climate change, particularly about heat waves and flooding.

The impact of NAP3 is significant, addressing the urgent need to adapt to climate change, especially in the face of extreme weather events and the increasing risks to health and well-being. The programme aligns with the UK’s commitment to the Paris Agreement and its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While the specific change in emission levels resulting from NAP3 is not yet determinable, the programme’s focus on adaptation and resilience is crucial for addressing the impacts of climate change and achieving net zero emissions for the country by 2050.

The sustainability and future impact of NAP3 depend on its effective implementation and the government’s and relevant stakeholders’ continued commitment to climate change adaptation. The programme’s focus on long-term targets and evidence-based action suggests that its impact is likely to grow in the future, especially as the UK continues to face the challenges of a changing climate. The Met Office’s UK Climate Projections (UKCP) provides a set of tools and data showing how the UK climate is changing and may change in the future, which can be utilised to assess the impact of NAP3.

In summary, the third National Adaptation Programme (NAP3) is the most significant climate policy in the United Kingdom in 2023. It is a national programme involving various government departments designed to address climate change risks, strengthen resilience, and uphold the UK’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard UK Country Manager Leo Owen.


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