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Durham University

Built Infrastructure for Older People's Care in Conditions of Climate Change (BIOPICCC)

 Built Infrastructure for Older People's Care in Conditions of Climate Change (BIOPICCC)

The BIOPICCC project is based on academic research, carried out in collaboration with a number of non-academic partners representing agencies and communities concerned with how to ensure continuity of care for older people during extreme weather events.

The older population is growing in numbers and extreme events are occurring now, so this is an urgent issue. Looking ahead, population trends and projections for future weather patterns suggest it will continue to be very important.

A key output of the project is an online resource: the BIOPICCC toolkit

The BIOPICC project has developed in stages. We are currently updating the website information about the project to include some recent new findings and materials.

Contact for further information:

Dr Jonathan Wistow, School of Applied Social Sciences, Durham University 29 Old Elvet, Durham DH1 3HN

Stage 1 Main research for BIOPICCC – the ‘first generation’ BIOPICCC toolkit

BIOPICCC was funded as a 3-year research project (November 2009 - October 2012) by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, within a major research network on Adaptation and Resilience in a Changing Climate. The project developed strategies to help ensure that the infrastructures and systems supporting the health and social care for older people (aged 65 and over) will be sufficiently resilient to withstand harmful impacts of climate change in the future, up to 2050.

The research was conducted by a multidisciplinary team based at Durham University and Heriot-Watt University. The team had expertise in engineering, hazard modelling, social and geographical science and health and health care research.

The team worked in partnership with representatives of local communities and service agencies in two case study areas in England, and with national strategic agencies. The project is cited in the National Adaptation Plan 2013 and by the NHS Sustainability Unit.

The ‘first generation’ BIOPICCC toolkit, is now being updated in light of new information from Stages 2 and 3

Stage 2 Scoping local demand for ‘all weather’ extreme events guidance

With funding from the NERC-PURE Associates scheme, members of the team from Durham collaborated with Public Health England (PHE), to pilot a draft set of materials for use by Local Authorities and their partners concerned with continuity of care during extreme weather events (EWE).

Our research in stage 1 had shown that it can be challenging for local agencies to prioritise strategic planning on this issue and involve staff at all levels of the organization to prepare for such events.

We agreed with PHE a summary of key preparatory actions that are likely to build resilience to all types of extreme weather (heatwaves, floods, extreme cold). These were based on existing guidance from PHE and Defra, but were simplified as a single list of basic actions.

The draft advice was designed in a way that might be included in routine management and planning meetings, to minimize demands on limited time and resources. Also it could be adapted to local needs and conditions.

We tested the draft advice in discussion with local authority partners in three parts of Northern England and prepared a report on our findings.

Stage 3 Assessing the longer term impacts of the BIOPICCC project – new case studies

With funding from Durham University Geography Department, members of the BIOPICCC team, together with Catherine Max Consulting ( ) followed up with partners involved in the original BIOPICCC programme and also with contacts from other local authorities who had made use of the BIOPICCC toolkit in their work.

This involved two phases:

1) A telephone survey was carried out in September 2015 which collected information from 7 local organizations who originally took part in the BIOPICCC project and/or had made use of the BIOPICCC toolkit after the project finished. A full report on the survey of longer term impact of the BIOPICCC project was prepared.

2) A stakeholder event to share recent experience and new knowledge was held in January 2016. A report on the discussions with stakeholders was prepared.

Banner image: Cockermouth Floods. Source: Environment Agency, 2009.