Climate Ready Scotland: climate change adaptation programme 2019-2024

A five year programme to prepare Scotland for the challenges we will face as our climate continues to change.

Annex 1: Progress to Date

Annual Progress Reports

Under Section 54 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, Scottish Ministers must make annual reports to the Scottish Parliament setting out their assessment of progress towards implementing the objectives, proposals and policies set out in Scotland’s statutory Adaptation Programme. The fifth Annual Progress Report was published in May 2019.

2009 Adaptation Framework 

Scotland has been preparing for the impacts of climate change for over a decade. In 2009 we published Scotland's Climate Change Adaptation Framework. Sector action plans to support the Framework were published in 2010.

2014 Adaptation Programme

Climate Ready Scotland, Scotland’s first statutory five-year Climate Change Adaptation Programme, was published in May 2014. The 2014 Programme aimed “to increase the resilience of Scotland’s people, environment and economy to the impacts of a changing climate”.

The Programme set out Scottish Ministers’ objectives in addressing over 130 climate risks identified for Scotland in the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2012.

Independent Assessments 

As required by the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, Scottish Ministers must commission an independent assessment of how well Scotland is preparing for climate change under the 2014 Programme from the Adaptation Committee of the Committee on Climate Change. The first Assessment in 2016 found that the Programme had made a positive start. Many policies and plans already took account of climate change; commitments within the Programme were being fulfilled, and it provided a solid foundation for further progress.

The second and final Assessment was laid before the Scottish Parliament on 19 March 2019. The report focused on what had changed since the Committee’s assessment in 2016, in implementing policies and actions set out in the 2014 Programme and in managing Scotland’s vulnerability to climate risks. The key findings were:

  • Significant progress on peatland restoration, increased marine resilience and an improved understanding of flood risk in Scotland.
  • The areas of greatest continued concern included increases in pests and diseases in Scottish forests, declines in seabird populations and soil health.
  • Key data and evidence gaps that make it difficult to assess progress for a number of adaptation priorities remain, including the extent of housing and other infrastructure development in flood risk areas and health impacts from climate change.

Business Sector

In February 2018, Adaptation Scotland launched a Climate Ready Business guide, which includes practical examples of steps that businesses can take to increase resilience and adapt to the impacts of climate change. The guide was developed in partnership with Scottish Enterprise, Visit Scotland and the 2020 Climate Group, and was sent to over 20,000 businesses.

Adaptation Scotland

Day-to-day support for this Programme is provided by Adaptation Scotland through sustainability charity Sniffer and funded by the Scottish Government. Adaptation Scotland has supported the growth of a large “adaptation community” of leaders and experts in Scotland. It provides advice and support to help Scotland be prepared and resilient to the effects of climate change. It helps the public sector, businesses and communities to understand what climate change will mean across Scotland, and to identify the best ways to plan for future impacts. Adaptation Scotland has produced important resources, including Climate Ready Places visualisations, guidance for the business sector, and new public sector capability guidance published in May 2019. 

Place-Based Initiatives

Sniffer has also led the development of a distinctive Scottish place-based partnership approach to adaptation. The Climate Ready Clyde partnership, initiated with £100,000 support from the Scottish Government, covers the Glasgow City Region including a third of Scotland’s population and economy and many of Scotland’s most disadvantaged communities. Other significant place-based initiatives are Edinburgh Adapts, Aberdeen Adapts and the newly launched Levenmouth Adapts.

Climate Ready Clyde: Climate Change Assessment

In October 2018, in a link-up with the UN’s World Cities Day summit in Liverpool, over 70 of Glasgow City Region’s decision-makers attended the launch of Climate Ready Clyde’s comprehensive Risk and Opportunity Assessment. Publication in April 2019 of supporting detailed analysis and an economic impact study, and a toolkit for assessing climate change for major projects in May 2019, have made the Glasgow City Region among the best informed regions in the world on its climate risks.

Climate Ready Clyde is now developing an Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan for Glasgow City Region, due in 2020. The aim is to ensure that Glasgow City Region doesn’t just adapt, but prospers in the face of climate change.



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