Climate resilience in the Square Mile with the City of London Corporation

Module four

How your business can benefit

If you’re a business based in the Square Mile, you might be wondering what’s currently being done to positively impact your company around climate resilience.

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile. In 2020 it adopted a Climate Action Strategy, setting out how it can support the achievement of net zero, build climate resilience and champion sustainable growth. Through the Strategy, the City Corporation has identified what we must do to adapt to hotter and drier summers, warmer and wetter winters, rising sea levels and periods of extreme weather. These changes will affect the ways the City Corporation works and the services it delivers.

As part of its work on building climate resilience, the City Corporation is piloting measures to make sure the Square Mile is resilient to the impacts of climate change (such as droughts, prolonged heatwaves and more frequent flooding). They are:

  • Developing sustainable rain and surface water management policies, including implementing new sustainable drainage systems (SuDS). This will reduce the impact of surface water and sewer flooding.
  • Implementing a Riverside Strategy to raise flood defences along the Thames in conjunction with the Environment Agency, to prepare for higher sea levels.
  • Working to increase the number of green spaces and improve the quality of them. This includes piloting adaptive planting that is resilient to future changes in climate and additional greening to mitigate hotter summer temperatures.
  • Researching and piloting methods of reducing heat absorption for road surfaces and pavements. This will limit travel disruption during hot weather periods.
  • Investigating above and below ground spaces in the Square Mile to find new locations to implement climate resilience measures. This includes looking at areas that are vulnerable to heat, to help prioritise where to install measures such as cool underground spaces.
  • Strengthening sustainability and climate resilience requirements for planning applications.
  • Researching new and emerging pests and diseases in ports and markets and identifying supply chain vulnerabilities.
  • Introducing Square Mile wide monitoring to assess the impact of climate resilience interventions. This will provide data for future decision making and help develop real-time responses, such as clearing drainage gullies during heavy rainfall.

In addition, the Environmental Resilience Team is working within the organisation and with external partners to mainstream climate resilience into all areas of the City Corporation’s work. This will help employees to develop the knowledge and skills they need to effectively factor key climate resilience risks into their decision making.  The aim is that climate resilience becomes second nature to everyone working across all departments: from making sure maintenance and renovations in housing estates account for future overheating, to incorporating greening and sustainable drainage within routine highways works.

To find out more visit the City of London Corporation’s Climate Resilience webpage.

This was last updated in March 2022 by Heart of the City. 

Climate for SMEs: 4 Steps to Action is funded by the City of London Corporation in support of its Climate Action Strategy targets for a net zero and resilient Square Mile.

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