In Surrey, the Climate Adaptation Strategy not only seeks to adapt the coastal city to climate change, it also protects the city’s ecosystems and biodiversity against future impacts.

Taking action against climate change is more than just preparing for uncertainty and extreme weather. Recognizing this, the Canadian coastal city of Surrey implemented the Climate Adaptation Strategy which identifies actions and prioritizes those that tackle the highest-risk impacts. One particular project that is part of the adaptation strategy aims to protect the coastal floodplain, comprising 20% of Surrey’s total land area. The project will protect more than 1,500 residents and more than 30 km2 of agricultural land.

“20 million m2 land protected via the green infrastructure network.”

Cities100 – 2017

Unlike most climate adaptation plans, Surrey’s also incorporates biodiversity conservation in its overall strategy, improving the quality of the city’s natural habitat to enable species migration and resilience. In 2016, 117,600 m2 of degraded parklands were added to the Green Infrastructure Network: an interconnected system of natural areas and open spaces that conserve ecosystems and improve livability for the people of Surrey.

The challenge

Increased flooding, loss of ecosystem services, and heat stress are all high-risk climate change impacts identified by Surrey’s risk assessment. The extensive adaptation strategy seeks to tackle all of these.


Economic The economic benefits of the adaptation strategy include securing $100 million of annual farm gate revenue and almost $25 billion in annual truck and rail freight traffic.

Environmental Surrey also adopted a plan to manage forestry practices on public property, protecting trees in new development projects, and planting approximately 5,000 trees yearly to lower the heat urban island effect and improve air quality.

Social The adaptation strategy aims to reduce the vulnerability of communities to extreme weather events, which are predicted to increase in intensity and frequency with climate change.

About Surrey

Surrey is a suburban city in British Colombia, Canada. As part of the Metro Vancouver municipality, Surrey has a population of a little over half a million. Despite a warmer and less rainy climate, the city bears the name of the beautiful county of Surrey in the UK. The city’s population began to explode in the 1980s, and the city is expected to overtake Vancouver as British Colombia’s most populous city by 2030.

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