Collaborative project delivers climate adaptation report

March 07, 2022

A collaborative project across the RSK group of companies has successfully supported Trinity House to deliver its climate change adaptation report to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra). Specialists across WRc, ADAS, RSK and Binnies conducted the research and prepared the report, which has now been published.

Trinity House, a charity and the General Lighthouse Authority that delivers reliable ‘aids to navigation’ services for mariner safety, commissioned the cross-RSK team to support the preparation of its adaptation report for Defra. The resultant report is part of the third round of the adaptation reporting process under the Climate Change Act 2008 and sets out how Trinity House is taking action to adapt to climate change, addressing both current and future climate impacts. This round of reporting gives a detailed assessment of present and projected impacts on the organisation, proposed adaptations and details of progress towards implementing policies set out in previous reports.

The RSK group team was managed by Andrew McArthur, Associate Director at WRc, who also conducted asset analysis with WRc colleague Dr David Hodkin. Alongside this, Danielle King of RSK and Charles Ffoulkes of ADAS provided a climate change risk assessment, which assessed the risk to Trinity House assets from climate and weather hazards across three future horizons: 2025, the 2050s and the 2080s, using the latest UK climate projections (UKCP18). Dr Alice Johnson of Binnies provided adaptation analysis from a coastal engineering perspective.

Adaptation planning is key to the sustainability of services, with investment in coastal infrastructure and lighthouses making a real difference in increasing the long-term resilience of assets and operations in the face of increasingly extreme weather. Many of the lighthouses that Trinity House manages have been around for over a hundred years and will continue to be in place for another hundred or more years.

Decisions made now must consider the impacts of climate change until the end of the current century or beyond. This includes the consideration of sea level change, as this could rise in the region of 1 to 1.6 metres by 2125, depending on location. Assessing the risks for both current and future changes in the climate will ensure that investment decisions stand the test of time and will enable the lighthouses to continue to maintain maritime safety.

Together, the team members were able to provide specialist analysis to support the better understanding of Trinity House’s current climate impact, how to effectively mitigate this and how to adapt for the future. The report focuses on climate risk associated with sea level change, rising temperatures and changing and freak weather events and details the measures needed to reduce this risk in the context of the UK’s coastal environments.

WRc Project Manager Andrew McArthur commented: “This was a very enjoyable, interesting and important project to be part of. I had the good fortune of leading a team of experts from across RSK to successfully support a client committed to maintaining its vital services by proactively strengthening the resilience of its operations against future climate and weather-related hazards.”

The full report is available to read online.

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