(Bloomberg) -- Despite the growing impacts of climate change, the UK government lacks “an effective strategy” to make the country resilient to extreme weather events that can cause significant disruption to life and business.

“The absence of an effective strategy and targets makes it difficult for government to make informed decisions on investment,” according to a new report by the National Audit Office released Wednesday. “The NAO found limited evidence of risk assessments feeding into how funding was allocated,” the independent public spending watchdog added.

Global warming fueled extreme climate events have been an increasingly urgent reality in the UK and the world. Last week, the World Meteorological Organization declared 2023 the hottest year on record. Storms and flooding have battered Britain and parts of Europe.

The “government does not track or evaluate its spending on extreme weather,” the report said. “Until these plans are developed, it cannot demonstrate whether value for money is being achieved.”

The report assessed four extreme weather risks — droughts, surface water flooding, storms, and high temperatures and heat waves — to determine how equipped the country is for the projected increasing frequency and intensity of such events.

In a report last month, the NAO had warned that hundreds of thousands of British homes would miss out on flood protections, with spending over the last few years diverted by Brexit, inflation and the pandemic.

The government has put in place protocols to respond to extreme weather events and works closely with agencies, including the Met Office and the Flood Forecasting Centre. It tests these plans regularly and has initiated mitigation action, the report said.

However, the audit office said that awareness is still inadequate, citing surveys that found that although 3.4 million properties are at risk of surface water flooding, “awareness among the public of the impacts of these events remains low.”

The government needs to develop a coordinated approach to investment in climate resilience by 2025 and implement it by 2028 instead of the current 2030 target. 

It also needs to clearly articulate the level of risk it will tolerate, “making informed decisions about prioritisation to ensure efficient and effective investment for the long-term,” NAO head Gareth Davies said.

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