Call for action over climate change
The UK needs to take action now to ensure it can cope with future changes in our climate, the committee set up to advise the Government on adapting to global warming has warned.
Ministers should look at measures such as bringing in mandatory water meters and changing building regulations to replace the use of purified tap water with "grey water" for flushing toilets and watering gardens to cope with a hotter, drier climate.
The UK is already feeling the effects of climate change, with average temperatures rising by 1C since the 1970s and spring arriving on average 11 days earlier, the Adaptation Sub-Committee said.
The country needs to start taking action to cope with increasing impacts of climate change, ranging from hotter summers to extreme weather events such as floods and droughts, the committee urged in its first report to Government.
The committee said taking measures to adapt to climate change would save money in the long run - potentially halving the cost of global warming.
There would also be new business opportunities which the UK could cash in on if it planned for them now, from growing exotic crops such as apricots to developing and exporting products needed by other countries to cope with a changing climate.
But the committee's chairman Lord Krebs warned that the UK was very good at talking about taking action, but not as good at doing anything.
The committee's report said urgent action was needed in five areas: planning, infrastructure, buildings, management of natural resources, and emergency planning.
Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said the report was a "wake-up call" which recognised no part of society would be immune to the effects of climate change - and that everybody must think about being resilient to rising temperatures.
She warned that the Government could not act alone in adapting the country to a changing climate and said control for action needed to shift away from the state.