Response to announcement of cut in DEFRA budget

Responding to the announcement today by George Osborne, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, that the resource spending of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural affairs will be cut by 30% on average in total over the next four years, Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science, said:

“Although the Chancellor is attempting to make the UK’s economy more resilient by reducing Government expenditure, the further huge cuts to DEFRA’s budget announced today will likely undermine even more the UK’s resilience to climate change. In particular, it is likely to prevent DEFRA and the Environment Agency from investing in efforts to make households more aware of the increased risks they are facing due to climate change. The cuts will slash the budget for the Environment Agency, which has decided to end funding for Climate UK, a network of local partnerships that communicate to households and businesses about resilience. The Grantham Research Institute has first-hand experience of the excellent work that the London Climate Change Partnership carries out to help protect homes and businesses in the capital. The UK is already experiencing the impacts of climate change. Eight of the UK’s warmest years on record, and five of its six wettest years, have all occurred from 2000 onwards. The risk of extreme weather, such as heatwaves and heavy rainfall, is increasing. Yet surveys show low levels of awareness among the public that they are being exposed to greater risks and so they are not taking adequate steps protect themselves. Last month, the Government rejected a recommendation to assign lead responsibility to a Government Department for a drive towards greater public awareness in order to boost the UK’s resilience. UK households are being exposed to increased risks from climate change, just as the Government negotiates an international agreement in Paris to boost adaptation across the world.”

For more information about this media release, please contact Ben Parfitt on  b.parfitt@lse.ac.uk, or Bob Ward or r.e.ward@lse.ac.uk.

NOTES FOR EDITORS

1. The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment (http://www.lse.ac.uk/grantham) was launched at the London School of Economics and Political Science in October 2008. It is funded by The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment (http://www.granthamfoundation.org/).