Delta Plan on Spatial Adaptation

The Delta Plan on Spatial Adaptation contains all the projects and measures that are aimed at rendering the Netherlands water-resilient and climate-proof by 2050. The Plan has been substantiated for the six years ahead and outlined for the subsequent six years. It also looks ahead to 2050.

One of the components of the annual Delta Programme is the Delta Plan on Spatial Adaptation. This sets out how the municipalities, district water boards, provinces, and the central government are planning to speed up and intensify the spatial adaptation process. To this end, the Delta Plan comprises seven ambitions (clarified below). The Delta Plan specifies the goals pursued by the parties, how they intend to achieve these goals, and how they will be mapping out the results. The Delta Plan comprises an action plan featuring specific actions and measures. The government authorities have joined forces in 45 Working Regions. 

Mapping out vulnerabilities

Insight into the vulnerability to extreme weather and climate change constitutes the basis for spatial adaptation. Consequently, the municipalities, provinces, district water boards, and the central government have conducted so-called stress tests to map out the vulnerabilities in their area, in collaboration with local stakeholders. Since 2020, the results of the stress tests have been disseminated via the Climate Adaptation Knowledge Portal. . The stress tests will be repeated every six years, and additionally if new developments in the public space so dictate.

Risk dialogues and strategies

The risk dialogue constitutes the step between the stress test and the formulation of an implementation agenda. A risk dialogue addresses an area’s vulnerabilities to waterlogging, heat stress, drought, and flood risks. The participants collectively determine which risks they deem acceptable or not, make well-considered choices and develop ambitions that may be specified in a climate adaptation strategy. This is a tailormade process, comprising several meetings with a range of parties. There are no national guidelines for risk dialogues; each area calls for a tailored approach.By early 2021, nearly all the Working Regions had embarked on the risk dialogues on the basis of the Risk Dialogue Roadmap. The process involves three steps: preparations, conducting interviews, and completion.

Implementation agendas 

Implementation agendas set out – local-level or more expansive – agreements for each region regarding what will be implemented, and when and by whom in the period from 2021. The agreements pertain to, e.g., specific measures, actions aimed at activating other stakeholders, embedding in policy and organisation, raising awareness, and further research. A growing number of municipalities and Working Regions have set down a climate adaptation implementation agenda. 

Linkage opportunities

Increasing attention is being paid to efficiently linking up climate adaptation measures with other taskings involving the physical environment. Especially in urban areas, such linkage offers a host of opportunities: giving impetus to the implementation of measures; reducing nuisance for residents and businesses; financial benefits. Linkage opportunities exist, e.g., in areas such as the energy transition, the housing tasking, and the regular major repairs and renovation cycles of buildings and the public space. Under the Delta Plan, several initiatives have been launched to this end, such as the publication of Climate Adaptation - Guidelines for Smart Linkage and the incorporation of climate adaptation into the urbanisation strategy for the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region.

Promotion and facilitation

In 2019 and 2020, the Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management allocated financial resources in the purview of the promotion and facilitation of climate adaptation. Of these resources, a sum of 10 million euros has been spent on pilot projects and 5.7 million euros on process support. For both components, local and regional governments have contributed a minimum of half of the costs. Pilot studies relating to “Financial incentives for climate adaptation on private premises” have also been supported. In 2021, additional resources have become available under a temporary incentive scheme. Local and regional governments are fostering and facilitating climate adaptation in several ways, within their own organisations, but also among residents, housing corporations, and businesses. With effect from 2018, the Together Climate-proof Platform has been actively fostering the exchange of experiential expertise between regional and local governments, private parties, and Delta Programme participants. 

Regulating and embedding

The Delta Plan on Spatial Adaptation supports government authorities and private parties in the ambition of efficiently and effectively embedding the goals in policy plans. This is achieved, e.g., through the Climate Adaptation Standards Consultation Committee (OSKA ); by sharing guidelines for the embedding of climate adaptation in environmental visions, plans, and implementation agendas; and by sharing best practices and know-how on implementation projects. The guidelines, examples, and implementation pilots can be found on the Spatial Adaptation Knowledge Portal.

Responding to calamities

There will always be a risk of damage and disruption caused by severe precipitation, drought, heat or urban flooding. This is referred to as the “residual risk”. The risk dialogue also addresses this residual risk. The participants collectively decide what the authorities must do and what residents/companies can and must do in order to contain the damage in the event of a calamity. The risk dialogues are providing more clarity regarding who is accountable for what damage. Furthermore, recommendations will be provided on actions and measures for coping with or reducing residual risks.