The Environment Agency (EA)
is leading the development of a
Decision Testing Framework that will enable planning decisions
simulated and tested against a range of future climate change
scenarios. It will build on existing approaches such as the
guidance produced by the EA and the UK Climate Impacts
Programme and will enable the end user to assess how
sustainable various approaches are to the uncertain future
climate change will bring.
Working with ESPACE Partners,
Waterschap Rivierenland and the Bayerisches Landesamt für
Wasserwirtschaft (the Bavarian
Water Management Agency), the EA have now established the
aims, objectives and scope of the tool.
framework will focus on planning and water management related
issues and will
give guidance to decision makers to help answer the following:
What are the climate-change risks that impact water management
and spatial planning?
Should climate change influence spatial planning decisions
with respect to water management
for the study site?
• What adaptation measures are required, and when?
• What adaptation measures would be most appropriate?
The decision-testing framework should cover
provision of guidance / procedures / scenarios and decision-testing
tool(s). It is also recognised that stakeholder engagement
must be a priority and the framework should cover facilitation
of this. In order to focus the project on pertinent issues
a series of pilot studies will be used to help develop the
The purpose of the decision-testing framework
(and tools) is to provide a generic platform for the analysis
of different adaptation measures.
The UKCIP ‘Risk, Uncertainty
and Decision Making’ framework (Climate adaptation:
risk, uncertainty and decision-making, UKCIP 2003), provides
excellent generic guidance and a set of procedures appropriate
for assessing the impact of climate change, and as such has
been adopted as the decision-making framework for the Environment
Agency within this ESPACE study.
The UKCIP Decision Making Framework provided
clear structured guidance on decision making, highlighting
both the sequential stages involved in decision making and
the need to iterate between stages (particularly stages 3,
4 and 5). Completion of the formal questions posed in the
UKCIP Framework provide a very valuable audit trail which
will encourage a systematic approach to the decision making
and provide documentation suitable for stakeholder scrutiny.
The framework is structured into eight key stages. The circular
nature of the framework supports the review of decisions
as and when new information becomes available. The framework
also emphasises iteration and feedback between stages such
that the problem, objectives and option identification can
be refined. Certain stages (3, 4 and 5) are tiered. This
allows the identification, screening, and prioritisation
of risks and options, before deciding whether a more detailed
risk assessment and option appraisal is required. The framework
also encourages the decision-making process to be open and
explicit, enabling the active engagement with stakeholders
and interest groups in the study area.
Piloting the Decision Testing