Natural England’s Character Area Climate Change Project commenced in 2007 to examine the vulnerability of the natural environment at a finer spatial scale. It began with a set of four pilot studies based around four National Character Areas (NCAs).
The project developed and used a methodology that used bioclimatic data, information from national experts, and workshops with external stakeholders to understand the relative importance and specific potential consequences of our climate risks in different places. Each study identifies a series of local responses to climate risks to help guide our own conservation work and to provide information that can help local communities make decisions for the natural environment in their area.
A second phase of studies commenced in 2009. The second phase built on the lessons learnt in the pilot studies and a revised methodology was developed, focusing on assessing vulnerability to climate change and increasing resilience of the natural environment. The technical reports of these studies are due to be published late 2011.
Sherwood in the East Midlands, bordering on the Yorkshire and Humber region – rolling countryside, with well established, iconic woodlands and a strong coal mining heritage.
South East Northumberland Coastal Plain on the north east coast of England – a flat landscape with coastline of sand dunes and rocky outcrops, scarred by a heavily industrial past.
Humberhead Levels, inland of the Humber estuary – a broad floodplain of navigable rivers, and an important area of lowland peat.
London – a large city, but with extensive urban green space, dominated by the influence of the river Thames.
South Downs National Park, stretching from Eastbourne to Winchester in the south east of England – a chalk landscape of rolling arable fields and close-cropped grassland on the bold scarps, with rounded open ridges.
Lancashire and Amoundness Plain on the Irish Sea coast in the north west of England – a flat, predominantly drained coastal marsh landscape of mostly peat soils which has seen significant coastal development of Victorian coastal resorts.
Morecambe Bay Limestones to the north of Lancashire and Amounderness Plain – a contrasting landscape of limestone hills interspersed with flat agriculturally-reclaimed flood plains, surrounding the multiple estuaries and mudflats that make Morecambe bay.
Solway Basin in the far north west of England, bordering Scotland – a broad lowland coastal plain gently rising to the hills behind with large expanses of intertidal mudflats backed by salt marsh
Natural England will consider important climate risks and responses in each of England’s 159 National Character Areas, as part of a new project to produce updated profiles for each area. This will be informed by the findings of work we have done to assess the vulnerability of the natural building on the detailed studies we have done in 12 National Character Areas.