NI Adaptation Planning Toolkit

NI Adaptation

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NI Adaptation Planning Toolkit

Why plan for climate change?

Our climate is changing and we need to prepare. Greenhouse gas emissions cause the Earth’s atmosphere to hold more radiation from the sun which increases the overall temperature of the planet. This change in temperature is altering our climate, and causing one of the greatest threats of our time. Even if we stop all emissions immediately, we have already locked in a certain amount of climate change.

In Northern Ireland, this means we will experience warmer, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers. However, cold snaps, drier winters and wet summers will occur, therefore we need to be prepared for a much greater range of extremes. We are already experiencing increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, and this trend is expected to continue for years to come. These changes pose considerable challenges to the everyday working and asset management of large organisations. It is important that all organisations understand the risks facing them from climate change and take steps to prepare. This is called ‘climate change adaptation planning’.

Why use this toolkit?

Climate action is approached in two main ways:
Mitigation and Adaptation

Mitigation actions

Aim to:

reduce the severity of climate change


reducing greenhouse gas emissions


Adaptation actions

Aim to:

prepare for the impacts of climate change


understand how you are at risk and make a plan

Responding to Climate Change


action to reduce the severity of climate change


preparing for the impacts of climate change

This tool aims to support organisations to undertake a methodological approach to ‘adaptation’ with the overall aim of enabling NI to build resilience to the potential negative impacts of climate change, whilst allowing us to take advantage of any possible opportunities.

It is important that we reduce our emissions urgently and significantly, however even if we stop all emissions today, we have ‘locked in’ a certain amount of change for which we need to prepare. This toolkit aims to support this preparation.

This video was developed by Climate NI to introduce the context of why climate adaptation is important in NI.

This video was developed by Derry City and Strabane District Council to raise awareness of the impacts of climate change across their region, and the action which can be taken to increase resilience.

Why adapt now?

Why adapt now?

Councils have a significant role to play in preparing their regions for the impacts of climate change. Climate NI supported Derry City and Strabane District Council (DCSDC) in the development of the first local council climate adaptation plan for Northern Ireland. The DCSDC plan illustrates the value of undertaking strategic adaptation planning to enable councils to explore the potential shocks and stresses facing their organisation and assets. It also recognises the co–benefits of green infrastructure to health and well–being for citizens, council staff and biodiversity.

What is the toolkit?

This toolkit has been developed by Climate Northern Ireland primarily to support the first phase of climate adaptation planning in local councils: the development of a first climate change adaptation plan. However, the information included may also be relevant to other organisations. Please contact Climate NI to discuss any specific requirements.

The five-step adaptation planning tool was developed based on international good practice and provides the building blocks required for the creation of a first plan which assesses current and future vulnerability to climate impacts, leading to development of a risk register and action plan.

The tool will enable you to explore:

  • Climate challenges already facing your organisation

  • Vulnerability to future changes in the climate

  • Data and policies necessary to better understand and address climate risks

An adaptation plan usually focuses on a five-year period and will require review and renewal. Future plans usually enable more tailored and action to address specific risks.

Read more about the Toolkit

Climate - Adapting to Change Northern Periphery and Artic Promgramme European Union

This toolkit was created based on knowledge gained through supporting Derry City and Strabane District Council to develop Northern Ireland’s first adaptation plan as part of the EU INTERREG–funded CLIMATE project. It combines resources and guidance from that project, as well as gathering expertise and resources from neighbouring jurisdictions in Scotland and the Republic of Ireland.

Thanks to Derry City and Strabane District Council, the wider CLIMATE project team and EU commission, Adaptation Scotland for their kind permission to reference ‘Scotland Adapts: A Capability Framework for a Climate Ready Public Sector’ and Climate Ireland for their invaluable continued collaboration and guidance on a cross–border basis.