Transport for Wales (TfW) exists to drive forward the Welsh Government’s vision of a high-quality, safe, connected, affordable and accessible transport network that the people of Wales are proud of.
Our work focuses on improving connectivity – by planning, commissioning and managing efficient transport networks and by drawing on the best skills from across industry, government and society. Together, we’re creating a transport network fit for the future, that contributes to the long-term sustainability of Wales and of those communities connected to us, achieving the seven well-being goals of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.
The TfW Climate Change Adaptation Plan has been directed by the remit to TfW from Welsh Government which is to “ensure all TfW operations delivered on behalf of the Welsh Ministers are designed and delivered based upon the latest data on climate change risk and impacts and robust climate change adaptation plans are in place”
At TfW, our TrawsCymru buses are pivotal to connecting communities across Wales. We’ll soon be conducting comprehensive risk assessments to identify the likely climate change risks and opportunities which will affect our networks, operations and services, including Core Valleys Line assets, buses and the new South Wales Metro.
Analysis of climate hazards
As part of TfW’s vulnerability assessment of the Core Valley Lines network (their owned asset), they conducted analysis of weather-related incidents which have adversely impacted performance. They are aware that as we progress through the century, climate change is likely to increase the amount of weather-related incidents.
To monitor the CVL resilience, several weather stations have been installed to better understand weather patterns across the network. The unique geography of the South Wales Valleys contributes to the existence of micro-climates, the different locations of these stations allow for a more effective response during extreme or adverse weather conditions, additionally, local weather conditions will be studied for future resilience. Weather stations have been strategically placed to understand weather differences within regions.
Analysing severe weather impacts on the TfW network has indicated that flooding is one of the primary risks. TfW presently follow existing regulatory guidelines to assess flood risk when carrying out any development works in the CVL. These guidelines contain allowances to ensure uplift for climate change is factored into design and construction. As the CVL is a flood-prone region, TfW will also consult on a more robust approach for the assessment of flood risk which aligns to the +2°C and +4°C warming scenarios.
A TfW Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) Framework and accompanying document has been developed to standardise the organisation’s assessment of climate risks and opportunities. The document is based upon the UKCP18 climate projections which relate specifically to a 25km grid square. By Summer 2023, TfW will conduct a comprehensive assessment of climate risk across the CVL network, including stations and depots. By Spring 2024, we will embed climate change risk assessment requirements into all TfW major projects (such as North Wales Metro) and existing policies. The document will provide TfW with a consistent resilience level through an approved framework for threshold testing against climate scenarios applicable to the network.
How is the adaptation strategy implemented in practice?
TfW has developed a robust governance framework for climate adaptation and resilience; providing them with the accountability and assurance functions for monitoring our changing climate risk profile and progress to deliver on the strategic objectives within this Plan.
The action plan is centred around a series of actions and measures identified to help them increase their knowledge of their climate change risk. This action plan will form as live document and will be reviewed on a 5-yearly basis. The plan is available at: https://tfw.wales/about-us/sustainabledevelopment/resources/climate/climate-adaptation-plan
They have set up an overarching TfW Climate Change Adaptation Steering Group and a CVL-focussed Climate Change Adaptation Working Group. Both groups will provide an effective assurance function for managing TfW’s climate change risks and opportunities.
The governance framework provides a consistent and accountable approach for adaptation reporting to Welsh Government if required. This is supported by following best practice and aligning climate risk and adaptation reporting to the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations. The TCFD guidelines provide a structured framework for reporting on climate risk and adaptation in line with core corporate operational functions: Governance, Strategy, Risk Management, and Metrics and Targets.
Embedding the climate adaptation and resilience strategic plan and climate change risk assessment within existing systems is still in its infancy, therefore it’s too early to evaluate in detail. However, TfW identified the importance of monitoring the changing climate risk profile. The action plan for climate adaptation and resilience is a live document and will be reviewed on a 5-yearly basis. TfW understand research and policy around climate resilience and adaptation is evolving, by having a monitoring and review process allows them to be flexible given these predicted changes.
Prior to the governance framework, gaining accountability had been a challenge. The integration of climate change risk management into TfW highlighted the need for clear accountability and a robust governance framework for climate adaptation and resilience. Like many other organisations, funding is seen as a key challenge that will need to be overcome. In order to obtain required funding for resilience and adaptation, a business case will need to be developed and managed by the governance framework.