Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman is encouraging UK businesses to prepare for the risks and benefi t from the opportunities that climate change could bring.

A recent survey of UK businesses and other organisations carried out for Defra has found that, while many businesses have been affected by the type of weather that climate change may bring, preparations for the impact of climate change are not well advanced. Three quarters of the businesses surveyed were concerned about the effects of climate change on the UK and one in three (31%) had been signifi cantly affected in the last three years by extreme weather such as fl ooding and drought. However, less than a quarter (23%) had actually started to do something about the risks and opportunities that climate change presents.

The survey also highlighted that businesses are generally threatened by climate change rather than considering it an opportunity. Research has shown that the impact of climate change will present opportunities for UK businesses across a range of sectors such as construction, tourism, transport and food production. Greater effort is still needed by companies to factor climate risk and opportunity into their business if they are to exploit these new opportunities and areas for signifi cant growth.

Defra has also published its formal response to the Environment Audit Committee’s (EAC) report Adapting to Climate Change. Defra and the EAC agree that further action is required to meet the challenge of climate change and drive up resilience to current and future risks.

Although climate change is a global challenge, the impacts manifest themselves at a local level; it is therefore crucial to plan for the impacts now.