Publication - Impact assessment

Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the Scottish Climate Change Bill: Consultation Proposals: Non Technical Summary

Published: 4 Dec 2008
Part of:
Environment and climate change
ISBN:
97807559

Non Technical Summary - Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the Scottish Climate Change Bill: Consultation Proposals: Final Environmental Report (Post-Consultation Issue) November 2008

14 page PDF

185.7 kB

14 page PDF

185.7 kB

Contents
Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the Scottish Climate Change Bill: Consultation Proposals: Non Technical Summary
Non Technical Summary

14 page PDF

185.7 kB

Non Technical Summary

Introduction

This document presents a summary of the Environmental Report ( ER) which has been produced as part of the Strategic Environmental Assessment ( SEA) of the Scottish Climate Change Bill ( SCCB) Consultation Proposals.

A full version of the Environmental Report is available from the Scottish Government SEA Gateway: SEA.Gateway@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

What is Strategic Environmental Assessment?

Strategic Environmental Assessment ( SEA) is a statutory assessment process under the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005, which requires a formal environmental assessment of new plans, programmes, policies and strategies that are likely to have significant effects on the environment.

The SCCB Consultation Proposals fall within the scope of the Act and therefore require a formal Strategic Environmental Assessment.

What is the Scottish Climate Change Bill Consultation Paper?

In June 2007, the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth announced that Government would consult on a Scottish Climate Change Bill to set a mandatory target for cutting emissions by 80% by 2050.

In setting this target, the Government wants to drive appropriate and necessary action, to reduce emissions and help mitigate the effects of climate change globally.

The Scottish Climate Change Bill will therefore:

  • set mandatory targets for emission reductions;
  • include monitoring arrangements to ensure Government is on course to meet those targets;
  • set out mechanisms appropriate advice on climate change and emissions reduction budgets, to ensure achievement and accountability for long term goals;
  • bring forward legislative measures to help reduce emissions and adapt to changing climate.

The SEA Process

The SEA process involves five standard stages, as described below:

Table 1: The five stages of SEA

SEA stages

A

Setting the context and objectives, establishing the baseline and deciding on the scope.

B

Developing and refining alternatives and assessing effects.

C

Preparing the Environmental Report.

D

Consulting on the SCCB proposals and the Environmental Report.

E

Monitoring the significant effects of implementing the plan on the environment.

This SEA considers options within the consultation proposals for the SCCB, and is not intended to represent an SEA of the Bill itself.

Best practice in SEA advocates that strategy or plan development are fully integrated from the outset through to adoption; however due to the implications of the Parliamentary legislative process, using SEA to assess proposals for a legislative bill presents particular challenges.

After consultation on the SCCB proposals, the SEA will address any significant changes required, and will close with the submission of the SCCB to the Scottish Parliament.

At that point, the consultation proposals will have been reviewed and 'implemented' and an SEA Post Adoption Statement will be produced, documenting how the SEA process has informed the development of policies within the submitted Bill.

This will meet the principles of SEA Stage D, and the requirements of Section 12.1(b) of the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005. Any further assessment of the SCCB, as an adopted Act, will be at the discretion of the Scottish Ministers.

A more detailed overview is presented in the full version of the Environmental Report.

SEA and the SCCB Proposals

The SCCB proposals discuss high level options and targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland.

In order to gain a better understanding of the environmental implications of the proposed Bill, the SCCB team asked Halcrow to identify and consider a range of possible measures that could result over the lifetime of the Bill.

The SEA therefore considers both the proposal options and assumes a range of possible emissions reduction measures, even though these are not specifically addressed within the SCCB consultation document itself.

The SEA focuses on the implications of emissions reduction measures, rather than climate change adaptation. This helps identify any potentially negative effects that action taken to meet the proposed SCCB targets may have on the environment. It also highlights where SCCB proposals are likely to have positive effects or help improve the environment.

SEA Consultation

Public involvement through consultation is a key element of SEA. The Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 set specific requirements for consultation with the Statutory Consultation Bodies, as well as the public, stakeholders and other interested parties.

One round of consultation took place during the SEA scoping phase, which included the Statutory Consultation Bodies:

  • Scottish Environment Protection Agency
  • Scottish Natural Heritage
  • Historic Scotland

The SEA Environmental Report and the SCCB Consultation Paper form this round of consultation, which will run from the 6th of February 2008 until the 23rd of April 2008.

All comments on the Environmental Report, received during the consultation period, will be reviewed and taken into account during the preparation of the Post Adoption Statement.

What does the SEA Report contain?

A key product of the SEA process is the Environmental Report, which contains:

  • An outline of the main objectives of the SCCB and its relationship with the environmental objectives of other relevant plans, programmes and strategies;
  • Baseline information on relevant Scottish environmental and climate characteristics;
  • High level discussion of strategic options and consultation proposals;
  • The likely significant effects on the environment including biodiversity, fauna, flora, population, human health, soil, water, air, climatic factors, material assets, cultural heritage, landscape and inter-relationships between these factors;
  • The measures recommended to mitigate or offset any significant adverse effects, as a result of possible actions taken to reduce emissions to meet the proposed SCCB target; and
  • A description of measures recommended for potential environmental monitoring of the SCCB as it is implemented.

Identification of Key Issues

As part of the baseline assessment, an overview table outlining some key climate issues and inter-relationships for Scotland was produced and is provided for reference in Table 2 below.

SEA Methodology Employed

E-test matrices considered the implications of the proposed Bill target for a range of Scottish sectors, against a Business As Usual option.

High-level and detailed assessment matrices were used to assess the environmental implications of the options and questions outlined within the consultation document.

Significant and cumulative effects have been identified through the series of high level and detailed option assessments.

The results of these assessments have been analysed and Table 3 briefly summarises the potential environmental effects identified (both positive and negative), by SEA topic. It is evident from the assessment results that SCCB proposals are likely to lead to significant long-term environmental benefits. However, it is also evident from the options assessed that many effects will be related to the direct or indirect impacts of measures implemented to reduce emissions.

Table 2: Key Climate Issues by SEA Topic (taken from Section 4.3 of the Environmental Report)

Key Climate Issues by SEA Topic

Biodiversity, Flora & Fauna

Material Assets

Habitats & species

Adaptation to climate change

  • Loss of BAP & Priority Habitats or European Protected Species
  • Potential loss of species at the limit of their range in Scotland
  • Potential damage to marine diversity

Energy

  • Supply & demand management
  • Energy efficiency
  • Renewables growth
  • Grid infrastructure/ distributed generation/ micro-generation
  • Conventional fossil fuel production emissions
  • Nuclear option

Waste management

  • Reduction
  • Recycling
  • Composting
  • Landfill
  • Incineration

Development & Infrastructure

  • Construction effects
  • Raw material extraction & use
  • Buildings and energy efficiency

Transport

  • Infrastructure development
  • Growth of transport emissions
  • Private vs. public transport
  • Alternative fuels
  • Aviation
  • Maritime

Population & Human Health

Demographic Change

  • Ageing population could result in higher domestic emissions and increased demand as older people stay home more, in older less efficient properties
  • Heat & Flooding increases demands on healthcare and domestic energy
  • Increasing urbanisation

Transport

  • Increasing reliance on private car and limited use of public transport
  • Tourism growth

Behavioural Change

  • Patterns of consumption
  • Domestic energy & water use & waste

Business & Industry

  • Energy & water use
  • Flooding issues
  • Improving efficiencies

Water

Soil and Land Use

Water resources

  • Energy input for water treatment
    (drinking water and waste water)

Precipitation change

  • Increasing summer droughts
  • Increased risk of flooding

Sea level rise

  • Coastal areas at risk in Scotland
  • Stronger storm surges, higher waves

Water Quality

  • Indirect impact of climate effects on other receptors (esp. soils)

GHG emissions from Scottish soils

  • Potential for high carbon soils to become net GHG emitter rather than carbon sink
  • Temperature and precipitation links

Loss of soil organic matter

  • Loss of carbon store and other soil functions
  • Diminished water retention, increasing flooding risks
  • Indirect GHG releases

Soil stability

  • Potential for increased erosion and landslides
  • Indirect GHG releases

Fertiliser use/ livestock emissions

  • Nitrates and nitrous oxide release
  • Minor methane release

Carbon sequestrations from land use

  • Increasing forestry cover
  • Biomass potential

Air and Climatic Factors

  • Air quality is directly linked to GHG emissions and reductions

Global action required

  • Unilateral action in Scotland/ UK not sufficient
  • Localised GHG emission reductions may have no influence on global climate change

Cultural Heritage & Historic Environment

Landscape

Potential loss of historic assets

  • Coastal flooding affecting sites
  • Drought and potential loss of assets preserved by water features

Changing landscape pattern

  • Land use change

Significant Effects of the SCCB Proposals

The potential significant effects of the SCCB proposals and possible measures to meet the proposed emissions reduction target are identified, by SEA topic, in Table 3 below. Likely cumulative effects of the SCCB proposals are also provided. These should be read in conjunction with Section 5 and Appendix G of the full Environmental Report.

Table 3: Potential Significant Effects of SCCB Proposals (and possible emissions reduction measures)

SEA Topic

Significant Effects of the Options

Climatic Factors

Positive effects

  • The trajectory of global emissions reductions from current rates to meet relevant international target by 2050 will impact upon the future severity of climatic change - a steeper trajectory (earlier emissions reductions) is more beneficial.
  • Domestically, interim carbon budgets, emissions trading, reporting and scrutiny mechanisms will help maintain the focus on continual action to reduce emissions into the latter half of this century.
  • Energy efficiency measures that lead to demand reduction offer the greatest potential to result in significant emissions savings in the short-term.

Negative effects

  • Due to the small proportion of global emissions, an 80% reduction target in Scotland alone will not affect climatic changes, as we are locked into a legacy of change from previous global emissions; therefore existing climatic effects persist.
  • CDM/ JI projects may help to reduce direct emissions but may not account for the embedded carbon in transport, technology or knowledge transfer and potentially could have significant adverse local environmental effects. They also do not encourage domestic reductions.
  • Targeting CO2 alone may inadvertently encourage the use of other greenhouse gases as people look for alternatives.
  • Energy efficiency may lead to increased emissions if people buy and use more energy efficient products, eg. cars are now more efficient but the increase in numbers negates efficiency gains.

Cumulative Effect

The overall cumulative effect of the proposed SCCB target will be to reduce the GHG emissions burden and drive the adoption and integration of a low carbon economy in Scotland.

It will also work to raise the profile of climate change and personal responsibility among the people of Scotland.

This will result in long-term benefits across environmental media and, should other countries follow suit, significant progress towards limiting the worst effects of climate change by preventing catastrophic change.

Biodiversity, Flora and Fauna

Positive effects

  • Limiting resource use and the overall demand for energy will have beneficial impacts for biodiversity. Direct benefits will also occur from reduced mineral extraction activities associated with a reduction in overall non-renewable resource use and potentially less intensive farming methods.
  • Secondary benefits will arise from reduced pressure on air, soil and water resources and less pollution of those resources.
  • Energy generation can be extremely water resource intensive, so energy efficiency measures that reduce consumption and generation should provide positive impacts for the water environment and aquatic biodiversity through reduced abstraction.
  • Modal shift, resulting in reduced private car use and the potential for limiting growth in road infrastructure will have a significant beneficial impact on biodiversity with an improvement in roadside air quality, tranquillity, a reduction in noise pollution and the stabilisation of infrastructure development.
  • Emissions trading schemes and carbon offset projects can present significant biodiversity benefits in receiving countries, if they are appropriate to the local environmental conditions and well planned. For example, protection of endangered habitats such as rainforests and tree planting.
  • Measures to help ensure that the 80% reduction target is met should have secondary benefits for biodiversity as long as mitigation measures are well planned.

Negative effects

  • The 80% reduction target will not affect climatic change in itself as we are locked into a legacy of change from previous emissions; therefore existing climatic pressures on Scotland's biodiversity persist.
  • Localised impacts of renewable energy developments on habitats and ecology.
  • Inappropriate crop planting for biofuel could have significant adverse effects of biodiversity, flora and fauna and species of crop should be chosen carefully to reduce any negative impact.
  • Large scale on shore and off shore wind farms could potentially have significant impacts on bird populations, although these impacts are not yet fully understood. Offshore wind energy developments may negatively impact sensitive sea bed habitats.
  • Wave power and hydropower can cause disturbance to sea and river bed environments as well as disrupting sediment movements which can have catastrophic effects on nutrient supplies and consequently food supplies for aquatic fauna.
  • New infrastructure developments to provide facilities for a low carbon economy/society have the potential to negatively affect biodiversity. For example recycling plants and factories to produce new green technology, new railway, tram and bus infrastructure.
  • If projects resulting from emission trading schemes are poorly planned and the receiving countries environmental conditions poorly understood then biodiversity, flora and fauna could be significantly adversely affected. Often poor legislation or limited enforcement exists to ensure stringent controls on development and siting of schemes.
  • Poor planning for emissions reductions measures due to targets that are either too frequent (annually) or too long term (no interim targets) may result in extreme short term measures being introduced without sufficient regard for the impacts on biodiversity.
  • In order to be practical, carbon capture from large-scale point sources such as power stations will involve limiting the transport distance and the length of pipeline used. This could result in new power plants being built at locations near to storage sites, which would have a detrimental impact on biodiversity at those sites. Effects such as ocean acidification could have a severe negative impact on biodiversity, flora and fauna.

Cumulative Effect

The proposed SCCB is likely to have long-term cumulative beneficial impacts for Biodiversity.

However, as the precise measures implemented to meet the target are as yet unknown, effective assessment and mitigation of localised impacts must take place, as some measures, if implemented inappropriately, could lead to significant adverse effects.

Water

Positive effects

  • Limiting resource use and the overall demand for energy will have beneficial impacts on water resources. Reduced water use aids energy efficiency through pumping and treatment energy savings.
  • A reduction in the use of fossil fuels will also have a significant beneficial impact on water resources through reduced mineral extraction.
  • Targeting all GHG's could be associated with a reduction in less intensive farming methods. This would have significant beneficial effects on the quality and quantity of water resources in both Scotland and producer countries through reducing diffuse pollution impacts.
  • Potential beneficial impacts in receiving countries from emissions trading schemes if schemes include reducing emissions and pollution to water resources. Also schemes such as habitat protection and tree planting can help protect and mange water resources.

Negative effects

  • The 80% reduction target will not affect climatic change in itself as we are locked into a legacy of change from previous emissions; therefore increased seasonal flooding and drought risks persist.
  • Localised impacts of energy projects, especially biomass conversion, with effects of irrigation on local water tables and potential diffuse pollution impacts through fertiliser use. Intensive biomass production can exacerbate soil erosion, surface runoff can be nutrient rich, leading to potential eutrophication of receiving water bodies.
  • Localised impacts of projects in other countries credited for emissions trading.
  • Ocean storage as part of a carbon capture programme could have significant adverse impacts on oceans; ocean acidification could be one side effect with negative consequences.
  • Hydro generation may disrupt water flows with knock on consequences for habitats and coastal and fluvial sedimentation processes with secondary effects on flooding etc. The construction phase of these technologies may also have implications on water quality.

Cumulative Effect

Action to meet the proposed SCCB target is likely to result in long-term cumulative benefits for Scotland's water environment, as a drive on resource efficiency will help people recognise the benefits of limiting their use of the water resource.

Other benefits likely through reduced polluting incidents and diffuse pollution in general.

As the precise measures to meet the emissions reduction target are unknown, effective assessments of impacts on water quantity and quality will be required at the appropriate stage of any development or land use decisions.

Air Quality

Positive effects

  • Reducing GHG emissions will have a significant positive impact on air quality across a number of emissions sources, including industry and transportation.
  • Emissions trading will result in beneficial air quality impacts, not only in Scotland, but also in receiving countries. Measures in receiving countries likely to be the installation of measures to improve emissions from industrial plants and also other schemes could provide low emissions public transport etc
  • The trajectory of domestic emissions reductions from current rates to meet the target by 2050 will impact upon future air quality - a steeper trajectory (earlier emissions reductions) is more beneficial.
  • A reduction in fossil fuel use and wider resource use in source countries for fossil fuels (e.g. coal from Eastern Europe) and goods.

Negative effects

  • Localised impacts of CHP, energy from waste and combustion projects.

Cumulative Effect

Emissions reductions made as a result of the proposed SCCB target are likely to have significant long-term cumulative positive impacts on air quality.

Human Health

Positive effects

  • Reducing GHG emissions will benefit air quality which will have a knock on benefit for Human Health, particularly through reduced incidence or risk of respiratory disease.
  • Associated measures to reduce transport emissions, driven by the statutory requirement of the Bill, such as improved modal shift will also reduce background and urban air pollution.
  • Modal shift may also increase the number of people walking and cycling and appropriate infrastructure and information to facilitate this will have beneficial impacts on obesity, heart disease and general levels of fitness.
  • Measures to reduce resource consumption and embedded carbon or GHG emissions may lead to increased awareness of environmental costs, less intensive farming methods in the long-term, and a move towards fewer processed foods, and therefore a beneficial effect on Human Health.
  • Reducing the carbon emissions from the existing housing stock through energy efficiency, including CHP and renewable energy production, has the potential to improve cold and damp, inefficient housing which can lead to detrimental health effects.

Negative effects

  • The 80% reduction target will not affect climatic change in itself as we are locked into a legacy of change from previous emissions; therefore current human health risks from flooding and heat effects persist.
  • Localised air quality impacts of CHP, energy from waste and combustion projects.
  • Rising energy costs may lead to health impacts for people in fuel poverty.
  • New energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies may have impacts that are presently little understood. Reports are emerging of side effects of energy efficiency light bulbs on those who suffer from migraines and epilepsy, and noise pollution from wind turbines has been linked to ill health. More work is needed to assess effects on health from these new technologies.
  • Potential for localised impacts and potential benefits of projects in other countries credited for emissions trading.

Cumulative Effect

Action to meet the proposed SCCB target is likely to have long-term, cumulative beneficial impacts on Human Health.

An overall reduction in GHG emissions, implied resource/ materials/ waste and energy efficiency will all help improve human health conditions through reductions in pollution and improvements for people in fuel poverty.

However, as precise measures to meet the target are as yet unknown, care needs to be taken as some measures, if implemented inappropriately, could lead to adverse effects on Human Health.

Population

Positive effects

  • Increased awareness of personal responsibility for emissions and embedded carbon consumption across all products may result in significant emissions reduction (long-term).
  • Reducing emissions may result in significant benefits for populations through improved quality of life, for example, improved public transport, less processed food through less intensive farming practices, improved visual amenity as a result of reduced landfill and extractive industries etc.
  • Energy efficiency measures have potential financial benefits, reducing financial stress on low income households, thereby helping address fuel poverty and leading to a better quality of life.
  • CHP offers significant benefits if social housing and deprived communities are targeted as reducing fuel poverty will have direct benefits on human health especially to those who are most vulnerable.
  • Improving the carbon emissions from existing housing stock has the potential to improve cold and damp inefficient housing which will improve the quality of many peoples lives especially those on low incomes. Energy efficiency and micro generation may have potential financial benefits through reducing the need to buy as much energy and also the potential with micro generation to sell it back to the grid.
  • Potential benefits of projects in other countries credited for emissions trading. Schemes that bring improvements to the quality of the environment will benefit standards of living, and in subsistence farming communities protection of soil and water resources will bring significant benefits. Technology transfer, job creation and knowledge sharing can all have positive social and economic impacts.
  • If SCCB encourages other countries to take action, it will help to avoid the dangerous impacts of climate change and therefore increase quality of life, both locally, and globally.

Negative effects

  • The SCCB is likely to have short to medium term negative effects on Scotland's population as prices and systems change, eg. more expensive food if less intensively farmed, and imports realistically priced to reflect embodied carbon and emissions costs.
  • The trajectory of domestic emissions reductions from current rates to meet the target by 2050 will impact upon Scotland's population - a steeper trajectory (earlier emissions reductions) is more environmentally beneficial, but may be more (financially) costly to business and the population.
  • Some vulnerable sections of society such as low income families, the disabled, the elderly and the rural poor may be financially penalised or may suffer from reduced accessibility to services if financial mechanisms are used, eg. to discourage energy use, car use and aviation.
  • Wider effects could result in a lower standard of living, with more expensive travel, fewer foreign holidays, less choice of out of season food, higher costs for food, as energy and transport fuel price rises means less to spend on luxuries.
  • Poorly planned emissions trading schemes for forestry plantation or protection need to ensure that they do not result in people being 'removed' from or denied access or prevented from using forest resources such as wood fuel or non timber forest products, which could have disastrous effects if not well managed.

Cumulative Effect

Action to meet proposed SCCB targets will have mixed cumulative effects on population.

Soil

Positive effects

  • Limiting resource use and the overall demand for energy will have beneficial impacts on soil resources. A reduction in the use of fossil fuels will have a significant beneficial impact on soil resources (outside of Scotland) as coal mining causes serious disruption to the quantity and quality of soil resources.
  • A move to an overall reduction in resource use will help reduce the levels of mineral extraction activities in both Scotland and in countries that supply aggregates, etc., for Scotland's construction industry. Mineral extraction causes serious disruption and degradation to soil resources.
  • Targeting all GHG's would be associated with a reduction in overall non renewable resource use and less intensive farming methods by potentially reducing the use of nitrogen fertilisers and intensive cattle rearing. This would have significant beneficial effects on the quality and quantity of soil resources in Scotland.
  • Emissions trading schemes and carbon offset projects can bring significant benefits to receiving countries in terms of their soil resources if they are appropriate to local environmental conditions, well planned and take account of environmental resources. For example protection of habitats will also protect soils, and tree planting can reduce soil degradation (wind and water erosion and landslides).
  • Improving the environmental performance of industries will help reduce emissions and pollution, including those to soil.

Negative effects

  • Localised impacts of renewable energy developments on soil resources.
  • Potential for enhanced GHG release from high carbon soils.
  • Inappropriate crop planting for biofuel could have significant adverse effects of soil resources, and the species of crop should be chosen carefully to reduce any negative impact.
  • Wave power and hydropower can cause disturbance to sediment movements in sea and fluvial environments, having a significant negative impact on soil resources in surrounding locations.
  • New infrastructure developments to provide facilities for a low carbon economy/ society have the potential to negatively affect soil resources. For example recycling plants and factories to produce new green technology, new railway, tram and bus infrastructure could all result in soil disruption and soil sealing.
  • If projects resulting from emission trading schemes are poorly planned and the receiving country's environmental conditions poorly understood then soil resources could be significantly adversely affected. Often poor legislation or limited enforcement exists to ensure stringent controls on development and siting of schemes.
  • Poor planning of emissions reductions measures due to targets that are either too frequent (annually) or too long term (no interim targets) may mean extreme short term measures are brought in without due regard for the impacts on soil.
  • New power plants being built at locations near to storage sites as part of carbon capture programmes would have a detrimental impact on soil resources at those sites.

Cumulative Effect

The proposed SCCB target will likely have long-term, positive cumulative impacts for soil resources through resource efficiency measures, action to maintain high carbon soils and prevent emissions and the potential for increased recycling of suitable organic wastes to land.

Short-term mixed impacts are likely; dependent on the measures implemented under the auspices of the proposed Bill, and may result in significant adverse effects on soil resources.

As the precise measures used to meet the target are as yet unknown, care needs to be taken to ensure soil resources are appropriately considered in any development or land use decisions.

Material Assets

Positive effects

  • Phasing out fossil fuel power stations will significantly reduce Scotland's emissions burden.
  • Reduced use of fossil fuels and increased efficiency in raw material use will reduce pressure on extractive industries.
  • Emissions from energy use in new buildings will improve through improved energy efficiency requirements.
  • Reducing emissions will lead to renewed investment in public transport as modal shift is encouraged.
  • Energy infrastructure development to allow distributed generation and integrated feed-in from distributed or microgeneration systems will have long-term benefits in reducing emissions.
  • A well managed, investment structure and phased replacement of fossil fuel generation with renewables, distributed generation and grid infrastructure development to encourage feed-in will result in long-term emissions reductions and balanced energy supply to meet demand.

Negative effects

  • The 80% reduction target will not affect climatic change in itself as we are locked into a legacy of change from previous emissions; therefore continued support for fossil fuel extraction and use will only exacerbate the rate and extent of change.
  • Renewable energy development will have embedded carbon in materials used and emissions associated with installation and access.
  • Public transport expansion, construction associated with new 'green technologies' and the production of the new green technologies themselves will all have embedded carbon in materials used and emissions associated with them.
  • Continued emissions from existing (older) building stock, some reductions feasible through remedial insulation and energy efficiency measures, although there can be difficulties with some retrofitting.
  • If energy demand becomes the only factor considered, may lead to demolition of existing inefficient buildings and a need for new materials to build a replacement.
  • Transport infrastructure, rail, air and maritime emissions continue to increase.
  • The UK grid was not designed for distributed energy generation and use with renewables. Centralised production and supply is too energy and emissions intensive. Infrastructure needs updating to allow feed-in from distributed sources or current trends continue. This may cause an increase in resource use

Cumulative Effect

The SCCB proposals are likely to lead to positive cumulative impacts on Material Assets but care will have to be taken to ensure that, should emissions reduction measures increase short term exploitation of assets, effective assessments of localised environmental effects and suitable mitigations are provided.

Cultural Heritage (including Historic Environment)

Positive effects

  • Long-term benefits likely in reducing GHG emissions as these and associated gases can have detrimental effects on historic buildings and features.

Negative effects

  • The 80% reduction target will not affect climatic change in itself as we are locked into a legacy of change from previous emissions, therefore current concerns and risks to the historic environment persist.
  • Although most energy efficiency measures will be internal to buildings, some measures may be out of character with historic buildings. Although designated buildings are afforded some protection against unsympathetic measures, it is those buildings that are not designated but still of local significance that are most at risk.
  • If energy demand becomes the only factor considered, may lead to demolition of existing inefficient buildings to the detriment of cultural heritage and the historic environment.
  • Emissions trading schemes if poorly planned could have a negative impact on the recipient countries historic environment, archaeology and cultural heritage.
  • A poor understanding of local conditions could lead to local cultural practices not being identified/ understood and inadvertently disrupted or adversely impacted by schemes designed to 'improve' the local environment. Local archaeology could also be adversely impacted if care is not taken to explore sites before development, as knowledge about archaeological sites may be poorly developed and limited legislation and enforcement may to exist to protect it.

Cumulative Effect

SCCB proposals will likely have a positive cumulative impact on Cultural Heritage, but emissions trading schemes need to be carefully planned to ensure that negative impacts do not result outside Scotland.

Landscape

Positive effects

  • Reduction in extractive industries as a result of reduced fossil fuel use and a reduction in the need for construction aggregates due to increased efficiency and recycling.
  • Phasing out fossil fuel power generation will improve landscape quality.
  • The SCCB may lead to strengthening planning measures to discourage the use of greenfield sites (soil disturbance) or without existing without public transport links (transport emissions), which could help prevent further landscape degradation.

Negative effects

  • The 80% reduction target will not affect climatic change in itself as we are locked into a legacy of change from previous emissions; therefore concerns over changing land use (and resulting GHG emissions) and land management at the landscape or catchment scale persist.
  • Localised visual impact of renewable energy, turbines, biomass conversion, microgeneration and large scale CHP in townscapes, off-shore development effects on seascapes.
  • Difficult choices and decisions must be made on the effects on landscape when evaluated against benefits to climate systems and consideration of localised environmental sensitivities.
  • Although most energy efficiency measures will be internal to buildings, insulation measures such as double glazing and external cladding could have significant adverse effects as could the orientation and positioning of new build projects that have energy efficiency in mind.
  • New power plants being built at locations near to storage sites as part of carbon capture programmes would have a detrimental visual impact.
  • Potential that poor legislation or enforcement in recipient countries ensures stringent controls on development for emission trading schemes to ensure landscape character is protected.
  • Inappropriate forestry or bio fuel schemes or renewable energy schemes could adversely effect landscape /townscape character.

Cumulative Effect

The proposed SCCB will likely have mixed cumulative impacts on landscape with some gains made but new challenges likely to arise.

Mitigation and Recommendations

Section 7 of the Environmental Report makes recommendations on means to mitigate the potential effects identified. Recommendations are made by SEA topic, however most are likely to be more relevant when considering which emissions reduction measures to implement in meeting the proposed SCCB target.

The following key points are important to note for future considerations of emissions reduction measures implemented under the proposed SCCB:

  • Take account of the inter-dependencies of different aspects of the environment.
  • Recognise the long term threat of climate change to the environment when making difficult decisions about environmental trade offs, but also that carbon reduction should not come at any cost; environment effects should be carefully considered.
  • Environmental, social and regulatory assessments may be needed at all stages of implementation (for example SEA, EIA, RIA, HIA, Eq IA).
  • Apply long term thinking to problems as well as identifying quick wins; for example, investment in research and development may help identify long term solutions.
  • More coordinated and better-integrated inter- and intra- sectoral action is required, as well as working towards policy harmonisation throughout and between Governments.
  • The consequences of climate change are global, and could be catastrophic in nature. There is a growing need to reduce emissions, adapt to changes that are already happening and plan and prepare for other expected climate change effects (such as potential GHG release from Scottish soils). Over time, climate change adaptation and emissions reduction is more likely to require an integrated approach.

Indicators and Monitoring

As this is the first ever SEA on proposals for primary legislation in Scotland, it presents an unusual conundrum over the monitoring requirements.

The SEA is carried out on the proposals for the Scottish Climate Change Bill, where the actual implementation of the 'plan' under consideration is its process through the Scottish Parliament and that process, in itself, will not lead to any significant environmental effects.

The ER identifies that significant environmental effects are likely to be direct or indirect effects from measures brought forward as a result of the SCCB, rather than direct effects of the proposals themselves. Therefore when the SCCB comes into force as an Act, environmental elements would be more appropriately monitored through the lower level plans, programmes and strategy frameworks that will guide the measures implemented.

Statutory Consultees may be better placed to advise whether SEA/ environmental monitoring at the strategic level of the proposed Bill (or adopted Act) is required, or whether indicators for monitoring significant environmental effects of measures to meet the SCCB targets are indeed more appropriately addressed through lower level policies, plans and strategies.

Commenting on the Environmental Report

The ER has been produced alongside the SCCB Consultation Paper so that consultation comments can be made with the benefit of the information presented in the Environmental Report. These documents will be made available to the public and other interested parties for review.

The consultation period for this SEA Environmental Report will run from the 6th of February until the 23rd of April 2008.

All comments on the ER, received before the end of the consultation period, will be reviewed and taken into account during the preparation of the SEA Post Adoption Statement, which will be published when the final Scottish Climate Change Bill is introduced to Parliament.

Comments relating to the Environmental Report, and any other queries regarding this consultation, should be sent through the Scottish Government SEA Gateway at:

Scottish Climate Change Bill
SEA Responses
SEA Gateway
Area 2-H (South)
Victoria Quay
Edinburgh
EH6 6QQ


E-mail - SEA.Gateway@scotland.gsi.gov.uk