Identifying risks in Property Services and producing an action plan
Property Services (PS) set up a Climate Change Adaptation Group (CCAG) with representation from each team and decided to assess the impact of weather and climate on their areas of operation. Specifically, they considered the risks to County’s property stock taking account of the services provided from buildings and the building users. The focus was on current risks and impacts playing out in the short to medium term. The team went on to consider adaptive responses and produced an Action Plan which is being implemented.
Alongside other impacts of weather events summertime overheating was identified as a common occurrence in many buildings (particularly schools). The Council is evaluating the extent of this problem across their buildings estate, identifying the range of contributing factors (weather, construction types, building materials and other issues, services being provided and user behaviour).
Oxfordshire CC’s local climate impacts profile highlighted several instances of school closure/damage as a result of weather. LCLIP findings highlighted the impacts and financial costs of weather events on assets and infrastructure. An assessment of current and medium term vulnerability for the property stock, building uses, investment programmes was considered an appropriate next step. The aim is to develop a mechanism/toolkit to assess a building and the services delivered.
Key messages and learning outcomes
Building infrastructure is a key area for adaptation planning within local authorities. An approach that can be replicated in other service areas or other LA property services.
Main outcomes were:
- To follow up with further research on the performance of different types of buildings across the Council’s stock (taking account of construction type, building use, location).
- Potential for participation in the Adaptation and Resilience to a Changing Climate (ARCC) research programme.
- Potential link to DCSF funded work on school buildings and climate change.
Loss of momentum – time constraints on relevant staff mean that implementation of Action Plan items has been difficult to achieve.
Self-censorship – where issues identified or adaptation responses appear financially prohibitive.
Darrell Marchand, Resources Property Group, Environment and Economy Directorate, Oxfordshire County Council