Energy Efficient Scotland: strategic environmental assessment

This Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) investigates the likely significant effects on the environment by the implementation of the Energy Efficient Scotland programme.

Appendix A - Relevant Environmental Protection Objectives and Environmental Baseline Information

Overview of Environmental Protection Objectives

A number of environmental protection objectives are detailed within existing legislation, policies, strategies and plans. In addition to forming the context for the Programme, these also form the context for this Strategic Environmental Assessment ( SEA).

For each environmental topic area scoped into the assessment, an overview of relevant existing environmental protection objectives has been developed. This information is set out in the following sections of this Appendix.

Developing the Environmental Baseline

Schedule 3 of the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 (the 2005 Act) requires that the following be identified when undertaking an SEA:

  • Relevant aspects of the current state of the environment and its likely evolution without implementation of the plan or programme.
  • Environmental characteristics of areas likely to be affected.
  • Relevant existing environmental problems.
  • Relevant environmental protection objectives at the international, European or national level.

Biodiversity, Flora and Fauna

SEA Objectives

Conserve, protect and enhance Scotland's diversity of species, habitats and natural heritage

Protect and enhance important habitats

Maintain and protect populations of protected species including their functioning habitat

Overview of Environmental Protection Objectives

Nature is essential for human life and provides us with water, clean air, food and raw materials. Crops rely on insect pollination and the complex biological processes that create soil. Enjoying nature also improves our health and wellbeing. All these benefits, sometimes known as ecosystem services depend on a healthy environment. If we are to look after nature we must work with nature across all sectors as all parts of nature are connected. Following an ecosystems approach means understanding the connections and taking account of the ecosystem services in how we manage nature. [59]

Existing environmental protection objectives relating to the protection of biodiversity, flora and fauna are set out through legislation and policy at the international, European, and national levels. These are largely aimed at protecting habitats and species from damage and disturbance; principally through the identification and conservation of areas of particular value. The policies define a hierarchy of protection and include a range of international conventions, including the Aichi Targets for 2020 [60] and the Convention on Biological Diversity ( CBD) [61] which came into force in 1993 and has at its heart 3 main objectives:

  • The conservation of biological diversity;
  • The sustainable use of the components of biological diversity;
  • The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.

At European level, the Natura 2000 network of sites affords protection to key natural assets under the European Commission ( EC) Habitats and Birds Directives [62], [63]; both of which have been transposed into UK and Scottish regulations. The Natura 2000 network is made up of Special Areas of Conservation ( SAC) and Special Protection Areas ( SPA). The majority of SPAs and SACs are also underpinned by Site of Special Scientific Interest ( SSSI) legislation [64] .

The designation of European protected species and identification of species and habitats as being the most threatened and requiring conservation action in the UK also demonstrates the prioritisation of conservation ambitions at European and national levels. The 2020 Challenge for Scotland's Biodiversity [65] is Scotland's response to the 20 Aichi Targets set by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, and the European Union's Biodiversity Strategy for 2020. The 2020 Challenge supplements the 2004 Scottish Biodiversity Strategy [66] and focuses on the importance of healthy ecosystems and an outcome that "Scotland's ecosystems are restored to good ecological health so that they provide robust ecosystem services and build on our natural capital".

Beyond site and species designations there are also longer term aspirations for enhancing biodiversity, improving landscape-scale ecological networks and addressing the impacts of climate change on the natural environment.

Current Environmental Baseline

Scotland's protected areas included 239 SACs, 153 SPAs, 51 Ramsar sites and 2 Biosphere reserves, amongst other internationally designated sites. There are further national level designations such as 1,423 SSSIs, 2 National Parks and a network of Marine Protected Areas ( MPAs) consisting of more than 180 designated areas [67] .

The UK Biodiversity Action Plan ( BAP) identified 39 priority habitats and 197 priority species either occurring, or known to have occurred until recently, in Scotland [68] . By March 2017, 80.3 % of natural features on nationally protected nature sites were reported as being in a "favourable" condition; a decrease of 0.1% from 2016 and an increase of 4.3% from 76.0 in 2007 [69] .

Areas of biodiversity value are not only contained within this network of designated sites. Many undesignated areas of Scotland also contain a wide range of habitats and species that have important functions and roles. For example, urban greenspace such as public and private gardens, parks, woodlands, recreational grounds, green corridors, allotments and community growing spaces can provide habitats and ecosystems which are valuable to wildlife [70] .

While there are a wide range of pressures on biodiversity, climate change in particular has the potential to greatly impact on biodiversity on a global scale [71] . The establishment and spread of invasive non-native species are also a known pressure on local biodiversity, and one that is expected to be exacerbated by a changing climate [72] . Indirect impacts may also arise through climate change adaptation and the action taken in sectors such as agriculture, forestry, planning, water and coastal management in the face of a changing climate [73] . Habitat change, due mainly to increased and more intensive land management, urban development, pollution, nutrient enrichment, and over exploitation of natural resources are other known pressures.

At a local level, it is recognised that the installation of energy efficiency technologies has the potential to disturb some species, particularly those using roofs and wall cavities to nest or shelter.

Bats are commonly found in buildings, often unknown to residents and users. All bats found in Scotland are classed as European Protected Species and are fully protected under the Habitats Regulations. Licences [74] are available to allow specified people to carry out actions that could otherwise constitute an offence, if installers find signs that indicate the presence of bats, work must be halted and a licence obtained from SNH which allows actions to be carried out in relation to this protected species that might otherwise be against the law.

Occasionally pine martens can use houses (generally the roof-space) as a den, although they generally prefer native woodlands, conifer plantations and rocky hillsides. Whilst a licence is not necessarily required, this can change if young are present. [75]

Energy efficiency measures may also impact certain species of bird, particularly their nest sites. No licensing process exists for their disturbance and building owners must therefore take responsibility to ensure action is taken to limit any impact, including carrying out work outside breeding seasons.

In the assessment of impacts from the proposals on biodiversity, the broader scale impacts at a national level must be considered in conjunction with the localised impacts on particular species. The means by which adequate protect exists, or means of mitigation must also be assessed.

Population and Human Health

SEA Objectives

Work to eradicate fuel poverty

Work to reduce GHG which are harmful to human health

Reduce other environmental impacts which are harmful to human health

Overview of Environmental Protection Objectives

Many existing environmental protection objectives are relevant to population and human health, either directly or indirectly. For example, the Air Quality Standards (Scotland) Regulations 2010 [76] , the Air Quality (Scotland) Regulations 2000 [77] , the Air Quality (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2002 and the Air Quality (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2016 [78] help set out current objectives and requirements for air quality with clear relevance for human health. Protection is also afforded through existing legislation against noise and vibration nuisance at the both the European level through the Environmental Noise Directive (2002/49/ EC) [79] and national level through regulations such as the Environmental Noise (Scotland) Regulations 2006 [80] .

The Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2012 [81] ( PPC Regulations) also seek to provide protection for human health. The PPC Regulations introduce a consistent and integrated approach to environmental protection to ensure that industrial activities that may have a significant impact on the environment are strictly regulated. The regulations were designed to eliminate or minimise emissions to air, water and land and extended pollution controls to previously unregulated sectors.

Current Environmental Baseline

The estimated population of Scotland in 2016 was 5.40 million, the highest ever and an increase of over 31,700 from the previous year [82] . Projections forecast that the population will continue to rise to around 5.7 million in 2026 [83] .

The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation ranks small areas (data zones) in Scotland from the most deprived to the least deprived. It analyses data from a number of indicators across the domains of income, employment, health, education, skills and training, housing, geographic access and crime. Key findings from the 2016 Index [84] show that 14 areas have been consistently among the 5% most deprived in Scotland since the 2004 Index. Of these, half were in located in Glasgow City with a further four located in Inverclyde, Renfrewshire, North Lanarkshire and East Ayrshire. Eleven council areas now have a larger share of the 20% most deprived data zones in Scotland compared to four years ago, with the largest increases observed in West Dunbartonshire, Midlothian, North Ayrshire and South Ayrshire.

In 2015 [85] fuel poverty declined by about 4% compared to 2014. 30.7% or around 748,000 households were fuel poor and 8.3% (or 203,000 households) were living in extreme fuel poverty. This is a reduction in 97,000 households compared to 2014 when 34.9% or 845,000 households were fuel poor.

Work to eradicate fuel poverty is an directly linked part of the Scottish Government's work to improve housing standards, and the results of a recent consultation on a draft fuel poverty strategy [86] are currently being assessed to inform future policy direction.

Transport accounts for just under a quarter of Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions under the definition set out in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act. Road transport makes up 72% of those emissions. For the first time, in the most recent statistics there was a 70% increase (totalling 1050 vehicles) in the number of ultra-low emission vehicles registers in Scotland compared to the corresponding period in 2014 [87] .

In addition to helping to reduce GHG emissions, active travel such as cycling or walking, can provide access to the outdoors with additional benefits for physical and mental health and well-being, including reducing obesity and stress. The Scottish Government's Cycling Action Plan [88] commits to drive forward active travel and seek to reduce car use for local trips.

Flooding can have significant environmental impacts and also affect people, communities and businesses. When floods occur, they disrupt day-to-day lives and their impacts can be long lasting, and climate change is expected to increase the risk of flooding in coming years [89] .

The potential risks and benefits of climate change on population and health will not be evenly spread. Pockets of dense urban development, for example, will be more at risk of surface water flooding and summer heat stress. In addition, the effects to human health from climate change may have the greatest impact on vulnerable people. The negative health effects are likely to be disproportionately severe in areas of high deprivation because of the ability of individuals and communities to prepare, respond and recover [90] .

In the assessment of impacts from the proposals on the population and on human health, the broader scale impacts at a national level must be considered in conjunction with the localised impacts as a result of project level installations and interventions. The means by which adequate protect exists, or means of mitigation must also be assessed.


SEA Objectives

Maintain, protect and, where possible, enhance soil quality, geodiversity and carbon rich soils

Overview of Environmental Protection Objectives

Soil is a non-renewable resource and is fundamentally one of Scotland's most important assets [91] . It supports a wide range of natural processes and underpins much of our natural environment, and through this important role, helps to provide a wide range of environmental, economic and societal benefits. For example, soil provides the basis for food, controls and regulates environmental interactions such as regulating water flow and quality and provides a platform for buildings and roads [92] .

There is an intrinsic relationship between soil health and other environmental topics; biodiversity, water and air quality in particular. For example, soil erosion is one of the main contributors to diffuse water pollution [93] .

Current Environmental Baseline

Soils play a significant role in terms of storing carbon and therefore help to regulate GHG emissions. It is estimated that Scotland's soils contain 3,200 million tonnes of carbon, making up over 50% of the UK's soil carbon [94] . The importance of soil as a resource is recognised internationally through the European Commission's Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection [95] . Nationally, the protection of prime quality agricultural land and peatlands is set out in the Scottish Soil Framework [96] , Scotland's National Peatland Plan [97] and the Scottish Government's Draft Peatland and Energy Policy Statement [98]

Geological sites receive protection through the designation of geological Sites of Special Scientific Interest at the national level and at the international recognition through establishment of a network of Geoparks [99] .

Peatlands are of particular importance for mitigating climate change by acting as carbon sinks'. These important areas store carbon in peat deposits and continually sequester new carbon in peat-forming vegetation. They are particularly abundant in Scotland, occupying around 23% of the land area [100] , and extend over large areas of the Scottish uplands and extensively in the north and west of the country in areas with gentle slopes and poor drainage. As with all soils, peats are at risk from land use change and the effects of climate change, and their loss or degradation (and the associated loss of carbon) has the potential to be a significant contributor to Scotland's GHG emissions [101] .

While Scotland's soils are considered to generally be in good health, there are a range of pressures on them. Climate change and loss of organic matter pose the most significant threat to Scottish soils, with both likely to affect soil function, including loss of soil carbon. The loss of valued soils in particular has the potential for national impacts which will be difficult to reverse. In the case of GHG emissions, impacts are expected to be felt globally [102] . As such, the management and use of these resources can affect the amount of CO 2 that is held or released [103] .

In the assessment of impacts from the proposals on soil and goediversity, the broader scale impacts at a national level must be considered in conjunction with the localised impacts as a result of project level installations. The means by which adequate protect exists, or means of mitigation must also be assessed.


SEA Objectives

Protect, maintain and, where possible, enhance the ecological status of the water environment

Overview of Environmental Protection Objectives

Objectives relating to the condition of all water bodies are set through the Water Framework Directive [104] , which governs objectives for rivers, lochs, transitional waters, coastal waters and groundwater resources. The Directive sets out the requirement for an assessment of both chemical and ecological status, alongside the requirement to consider the status of biodiversity as an indicator in determining water quality.

These objectives are set in the Scottish context in a range of water, coastal and marine policies. Scotland's River Basin Management Plans [105] aim to improve the overall condition of water bodies. The protection of Scotland's water resources has also been translated through the establishment of legislation and regulations such as the Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act 2003 [106] and the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2011 [107] . These complement the role of others such as the Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2012 [108] , developed to specifically control pollution relating to industry discharges.

The Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009 [109] provides for the management of flood risk, and translates the EU Floods Directive [110] into the national context.

From a broader perspective, at the heart of Land Use Strategy [111] is the need for responsible stewardship of Scotland's natural resources delivering more benefits to Scotland's people.

Water quantity is also relevant to the assessment as the abstraction of water can have impacts on geology, habitats, wildlife and biodiversity [112] .

Current Environmental Baseline

Scotland's water resources help to support health and prosperity through the provision of potable water for drinking and domestic use, and as a resource used by sectors such as agriculture, aquaculture and industry. These important resources also support a rich diversity of habitats and species, play a key role in attracting tourism, and support a wide range of recreation activities.

Scotland's water resources are generally considered to be in good condition. There have been significant reductions in pollution over the last 25 years and in 2016, 64% of Scotland's groundwater and surface water bodies were classified as being in good or excellent condition [113] . However, rivers across Scotland's central belt and east coast in particular, require additional work to achieve Scotland's overarching target of all water bodies achieving 'good or better' for overall status [114] . Similarly, the overall status of 97% of Scottish coastal waters is 'high' or 'good' with only 3% rated as 'moderate' [115] .

The River Basin Management Plan for the Scotland river basin district 2015 – 2027 [116] is Scotland's route map for protecting and improving the water environment in Scotland's river basin districts. Monitoring for the Plan shows that 66% of water bodies are currently in good or better condition with a further 22% expected to achieve good status by 2027. Some 83% of protected areas are currently classed as being in good or better condition with a further 16% expected to achieve good status by 2027 [117] .

Regarding water quantity, between 2002 and 2009, and between 2010 and 2015 estimated raw water abstractions have decreased. Between 2004/05 and 2015/16 treated water produced also fell to a new of 1,780 Ml/d. The decrease in treated water is almost entirely due to a reduction in leakage. The increase in domestic water consumption partly reflects an increase in the number of households and the decrease in non-domestic water consumption partly reflects the introduction of the market changes to assist customers [118] .

Increasing information is being gathered regarding mine water which captures geothermal energy from old coal mines across the central belt. This low carbon resource could be used as a heat source, and is of particular relevance when considering district heating projects. Whilst still embryonic in terms of baseline data, studies do point to the potential of this resource, and the opportunity therefore presents itself through this assessment to highlight the potential which exists [119] both as a heat source and also heat storage.

In the assessment of impacts from the proposals on water, the broader scale impacts at a national level must be considered in conjunction with the localised impacts as a result of, in particular project level installations such as water sourced heating systems which could have an impact through water extraction and heat extraction, or increased or retained heat in groundwater The means by which adequate protect exists, or means of mitigation must also be assessed.

Landscape and Visual Impact

SEA Objectives

Protect our most scenic areas, reflect the importance of the interaction between people and the land, and aim to enhance areas where landscape qualities have been eroded over time

Overview of Environmental Protection Objectives

The EC Landscape Convention [120] lays the foundation for landscape objectives and programmes. The establishment of key national programmes including the National Scenic Areas ( NSA) Programme [121] demonstrate a continuing commitment to protect the special qualities of nationally important landscapes and seascapes. The protection and enhancement of Scotland's landscapes are set out at the national level in SPP [122] and are also referenced in relation to several national developments and under a natural, resilient place in NPF3 [123] .

SNH has undertaken research on areas which are viewed as wild land [124] . This has been based on four attributes: perceived naturalness of land cover; ruggedness of the terrain; remoteness from public roads or ferries; and lack of buildings, roads, pylons and modern artefacts. Areas with stronger wild land characteristics are more commonly found in the north and west, and in particularly areas of higher ground; although additional areas of wild land are present in other areas of Scotland. The SPP reflects and protects areas of wild land identified in the SNH 2014 map of wild land areas from inappropriate development.

Current Environmental Baseline

Over 13% of Scotland's land area has been classified as a NSA, recognised for their outstanding scenery and regarded as representing Scotland's finest landscapes. These areas are located predominantly across the north west of Scotland, and are largely focused on upland and coastal landscapes. However, they also include other features including lochs, estuaries and river valleys [125] .

Many local authorities have also developed local designations to identify valued landscapes, seascapes and townscapes considered important at the local or regional level. These areas have largely been designated for conservation purposes and protection from inappropriate development [126] .

Land use change and intensification present a direct man-made pressure to many landscapes and seascapes, particularly the potential to significantly influence their character. Incremental and on-going development such as infrastructure projects, housing, expansion of towns and villages, and renewable energy schemes are examples of changes that can take place of over a period of decades.

Built development such as house building can have significant impacts on Scotland's urban and rural landscapes, the design of which can have a direct impact on both energy efficiency and contribute to the enhancement of the local environment, providing attractive and healthy places to live [127] . Attractive, accessible landscapes, including green spaces in urban environments, invite and encourage physical activity.

As referenced above priority should be given to refurbishment of the existing built stock over demolition [128] in an effort to minimise the need for new development, save the need for energy locked in building materials and construction, maximise the use of existing infrastructure and maximise the use of energy embodied within that stock.


SEA Objectives

Protect and improve, where possible, air quality across Scotland

Overview of Environmental Protection Objectives

Scotland's air quality environmental protection objectives are largely derived from the EC Air Quality Directive (2008/50/ EC) [129] and the 4th Air Quality Daughter Directive (2004/107/ EC) [130] , via the Air Quality Standards (Scotland) Regulations 2010 [131] which transposes these Directives into the Scottish context. There are also domestic objectives as part of the Local Air Quality Management system set under the Environment Act 1995 and associated regulations [132] . These objectives are largely aimed at reducing air emissions that are potentially harmful to human health and the environment, and together they set out the requirement for monitoring with a particular focus on areas where air pollution is concentrated.

Scotland's Pollution Prevention and Control ( PPC) Regulations (2012) [133] allow for the regulation and monitoring of certain industrial activities in Scotland that can generate airborne pollution. Together with the Air Quality Standards (Scotland) Regulations 2010 [134] , the PPC Regulations enable regulators to monitor, manage and, ultimately, improve Scottish air quality. It also sets a requirement for monitoring of air quality with a particular focus on areas where air pollution is concentrated and seeks to identify the sources.

The Clean Air Act 1993 [135] 1993. controls emissions of dark smoke, smoke, grit, dust, fumes from domestic, commercial and industrial premises and emissions from other activities which fall outside the PCC system. This legislation and changes in fuel usage over the past 30 years have helped the UK to meet air quality standards for sulphur dioxide and particulate set by EU Directive 80/779/ EEC [136] .

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe ( UNECE) Gothenburg Protocol [137] sets national emission 'ceilings' for countries to meet for 2010 and up to 2020 for Sulphur dioxide ( SO 2), Nitrogen oxides ( NO X), Ammonia ( NH 3) and volatile organic compounds ( VOCs). This Protocol is part of the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution ( CLRTAP) [138] . Similar ceilings have since been set in European law under the 2001 National Emission Ceilings Directive (2001/81/ EC), [139] which was subsequently made into UK law as the National Emission Ceilings Regulations 2002 [140] . The European Clean Air Package [141] was published in December 2013, and this included ratification of the May 2012 Gothenburg targets.

Current Environmental Baseline

Air pollution can result in adverse impacts on both human health and can significantly affect many aspects of quality of life. Air pollution can also cause adverse effects in the wider environment. For example, it can add nutrients to water bodies and soils and contribute to acidification, both of which can impact on plant and animal life, and can also damage the fabric of buildings and monuments [142] .

Air quality is important for both short and long-term human health, and poor air quality can have impacts on people with existing health issues. In general, healthy people may not suffer from any serious health effects from exposure to the levels of pollution commonly experienced in urban environments. However, continual exposure can cause harm over the long term, and those with pre-existing health conditions such as heart disease, lung conditions and asthma can be adversely impacted by daily exposure to air pollutants [143] . Research has shown that air pollution reduces average life expectancy and often leads to premature deaths [144] . Activities that generate air pollutants have been considered under the topic of Air Quality.

The quality of the air around us is affected by the pollutants released into the atmosphere through human activities, such as transport and industry (including agriculture), as well as from natural sources. The pollutants generally considered as being of most importance in relation to human health and the environment includes Sulphur Dioxide ( SO 2), Nitrogen dioxide ( NO 2) and particulate emissions. Ammonia is also produced in many agricultural activities, including in emissions from livestock farming, manure handling and the use of nitrogen fertilisers.

Air quality in Scotland has improved considerably over the last few decades. Between 1990 and 2015 there were decreases of 83% for Carbon monoxide ( CO), 71% for Nitrogen oxides ( NO x), 66% for non-methane volatile organic compounds , 63% for fine particulate matter ( PM 10) and 92% for SO 2 [145], [146]. However, air pollution is still estimated to reduce the life expectancy of every person in the UK by an average of 7–8 months [147] and there are some towns and cities where air quality has been identified as a concern [148] .

Section 83(1) of the Environmental Act 1995 [149] sets out a requirement that where air quality objectives are not being met or are unlikely to be met within the relevant period, Local Authorities designate an Air Quality Management Areas ( AQMAs) [150] . In Scotland, 38 AQMAs have currently been declared, with 14 of Scotland's 32 Local Authorities having declared at least one. The majority of these are declared in urban areas as a result of NO x alone or in combination with PM 10 levels, and primarily as a result of traffic emissions [151] .

At a policy level, the Scottish Government's Cleaner Air for Scotland [152] ( CAFS) policy document clarifies that commitments to decarbonise the Scottish economy, of which this programme plans a significant role, should help reduce air pollution, but the choices about the route to 2050 will influence the scale of additional improvements for air quality. This strategy directs the need for energy efficiency and demand management to create a shift towards low or zero emission energy sources, for example, which will provide mutual benefits for air quality and climate change, this being at a domestic and non-domestic level.

In the assessment of impacts from the proposals on air quality the broader scale impacts at a national level must be considered in conjunction with the localised impacts as a result of project level installations and interventions. The means by which adequate protect exists, or means of mitigation must also be assessed.

Climatic Factors

SEA Objectives

Contribute to formal targets to reduce Green House Gas Emissions across Scotland

Overview of Environmental Protection Objectives

Scotland's ambition on tackling climate change is set out in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 ("the 2009 Act") [153] . Through this legislation, Scotland contributes to international ( EU and UN) efforts on climate change mitigation and adaptation. The 2009 Act creates the statutory framework for greenhouse gas ( GHG) emissions reduction in Scotland, and set targets for reduction in emissions of the seven Kyoto Protocol GHG [154] by 80% by 2050, with an interim 2020 target of 42%, compared to the 1990/1995 baseline level.

The 2009 Act also requires that annual GHG emissions targets are set, by Order, for each year in the period 2010 – 2050. Following the initial phase of target-setting, the annual targets are set in five year batches, at least twelve years in advance. The third and most recent batch of annual targets, covering the years 2028 – 2032, was agreed by the Scottish Parliament in October 2016.

The Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme (the Adaptation Programme) [155] addresses the impacts identified for Scotland in the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment ( CCRA) [156] . The Adaptation Programme sets out Scottish Ministers' objectives in relation to adaptation to climate change, their proposals and policies for meeting these objectives, and the period within which these proposals and policies will be introduced. The Programme also sets out the arrangements for wider engagement in meeting these objectives. The updated UK CCRA [157] sets out priorities for the next five years. The impacts identified for Scotland are expected to be addressed by the second iteration of the Adaptation Programme which is due in 2019 [158] .

At the Paris climate conference ( COP 21) in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the first ever universal, legally binding global climate deal. The Paris Agreement is a bridge between today's policies and climate-neutrality before the end of the century. The agreement sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2 oC [159] . The deal also says countries should aim for the even more ambitious target of 1.5 oC [160] . The Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016.

The EU Emissions Trading System ( EU ETS) is a key component of the EU's policy to combat climate change. In operation since 2005, it aims to reduce GHG emission from energy intensive industries, with emissions from within Europe aviation added in 2012. The EU ETS operates in 31 countries (all 28 EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and covers 45% of the EU's emissions [161] . The EU ETS has emission reduction targets for 2020 of 20% on 2005 levels for industrial emissions. To achieve this, the system works on a "cap and trade" principle, requiring participants to obtain allowances to cover their annual emissions; the availability of which reduces annually. The allowances are issued through a combination of auction and free allocation, and participants can trade them on a secondary market; creating a market price for carbon. Negotiations on future participation in the EU ETS are ongoing as a result of the EU exit process.

Current Environmental Baseline

Over the last 50 years, it has become increasingly apparent that the world's climate is changing at an unprecedented rate. Evidence of an increase in average global temperatures and an increase in GHG in the atmosphere has led to the conclusion that human activities, including the use of carbon based fuels, is the main reason for this increase [162] . Other effects, such as air pollution, also often originate from the combustion of fossil fuels.

The extent of the effects of climate change will vary by location, but there is significant evidence supporting the belief that significant changes in precipitation, snowfall, seasonality, cloud cover, humidity, wind speeds, soil moisture, rising sea levels and extreme weather may occur [163] . Higher temperatures and changes in rainfall patterns have been exhibited since 1961. For example, some parts of north-west Scotland have become up to 45% drier in summer, while increases in as much as 60% of winter rainfall have been observed in northern and western regions [164] . Over this same period, average temperatures in all regions have risen every season and it is predicted under a high emissions scenario, summer and winter temperatures in 2080 may be 4.3°C and 3.1°C higher, respectively [165] .

It is predicted that the greatest direct climate change-related threats for the UK are large increases in flood risk, exposure to high temperatures and heat waves, shortages in the public water supply and for agriculture, energy production and industry, substantial risks to UK wildlife and natural ecosystems risks to domestic and international food production and trade [166] . New and emerging pests and diseases, and invasive non-native species affecting people, plants and animals has also been noted as a research priority.

Climate change is considered to be one of the most serious environmental threats to sustainable development, with adverse impacts expected on human health, food security, economic activity, natural resources and physical infrastructure [167] . Adaptation to the effects of climate change is now acknowledged as being necessary to respond effectively and equitably to the impacts of climate change.

In 2015, Scottish emissions of the basket of seven greenhouse gases are estimated to be 48.1 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent ( MtCO 2e). This is 3.0% lower than the 2014 figure of 49.5 MtCO 2e, a 1.5 MtCO 2e decrease. The main contributor to this reduction between 2014 and 2015 was a fall in energy supply emissions ( e.g. power stations) (1.7 MtCO 2e 12.0% reduction). Between 1990 and 2015, there was a 37.6% reduction in estimated emissions, a 28.9 MtCO 2e decrease. The three contributors to this reduction are a fall in energy supply emissions (eg power stations) (10.5 MtCO 2e, 46.4% reduction); a fall in business and industrial process (eg manufacturing) (5.8 MtCO 2e, 40.2% reduction); and a fall in waste management emissions (eg landfill) (4.2 , 74.9% reduction) [168] .

At a local authority level, all of Scotland's 32 local authorities signed Scotland's Climate Change Declaration in 2007 [169] . This is a public statement wherein local authorities acknowledge the reality and implications of climate change and their responsibility to respond effectively. The Declaration also welcomes the actions of the UK and Scottish governments and the opportunities for local authorities to work in partnership with others in responding to climate change. The annual reporting associated with this provides a useful benchmark to monitor the impact of the proposals at a local level.

The main contributors to Scotland's GHG emissions in 2015 were the energy supply sector (25.4%), transport (including international aviation and shipping) (27.4%), agriculture and related land uses (22.5%), business and industrial process (17.9%) and residential (12.7%). Forestry is a net carbon sink and from 2014 to 2015 this has reduced by 4.6% from -7.3 MtCO 2e to -7.0 MtCO 2e [170] .

In the assessment of impacts from the proposals on GHG emissions at a national and local level must be considered in addition to an assessment of adequate means to measure improvements.

Cultural Heritage and the Historic Environment

SEA Objectives

Protect, and where appropriate enhance the historic, built and cultural heritage

Overview of Environmental Protection Objectives

Existing cultural heritage objectives are set out in legislation including the Historic Environment (Amendment) Scotland Act (2011) [171] , Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 (as amended) [172] and Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act (1997) [173] . These objectives are focused primarily on the protection of valued sites and features, including townscapes ( i.e. places, buildings and open spaces), buildings, archaeological sites, battlefields, wrecks and landscapes that have been recognised at the international, national and local levels through a hierarchy of designations.

Policies such as National Planning Framework ( NPF3) [174] and Scottish Planning Policy ( SPP) [175] aim to improve the quality of our settlements and built environment with a national level focus. These are complemented by the Historic Environment Strategy for Scotland (2014) [176] and the Historic Environment Scotland ( HES) Policy Statement [177] which provide an overarching framework for historic environment policy in Scotland. Together, they emphasise the importance of preserving recognised sites, avoiding negative impacts on them and their wider setting, and contributing to their enhancement where appropriate. These key objectives also extend to taking into accounting of, and avoiding damage to or loss of, currently unknown archaeology.

Current Environmental Baseline

Scotland's many and varied historical sites are unique and irreplaceable. These sites and features are regarded as making a valuable contribution to our quality of life, cultural identity, education and economy. While these assets are distributed widely throughout Scotland, there are clusters of sites in and around our settlements and also around our coastlines.

Some parts of Scotland's historic environment are protected through a process of designation. The process aims to identify parts of the historic environment for their significance and enhance their protection. Designated assets currently include world heritage sites, listed buildings, scheduled monuments conservation areas and historic marine protected areas [178] .

Information on the condition of the historic environment is largely collated at a local level, making it difficult to assess changes and trends as a whole. Data collected through regular inspection regimes for many historic sites shows that the condition of A-listed buildings (nationally or internationally important) is stable. The condition of scheduled monuments is also generally stable, with some 87% of monuments visited in 2015/6 reported as being in an optimal or satisfactory condition. However, older buildings (built pre-1919) are more likely than newer properties to have a need for basic and extensive repair [179] .

Inappropriate development is a key pressure on the historic environment and cultural heritage, both directly in terms of damage to known and unknown features, and the potential for impacts to setting. Other known pressures include changing land use and land management, tourism/visitors, pollution and climate change.

Scotland's Historic Environment Audit [180] also projects that Scotland will become warmer and wetter as a result of climate change, resulting in the increased weathering of stone, rotting timbers and corrosion of metals. Reducing GHG emissions associated with the upkeep of buildings whilst maintaining their cultural significance can also present challenges. For example, improving energy efficiency by preventing heat loss in some older buildings can result in condensation and fungus growth due to reducing the air flow in the building. This can potentially have damaging effects on the fabric of buildings and the health of those using it.

At a local level, while a baseline is difficult to create for all of Scotland's vast range of traditional buildings which are not formally designated but remain of cultural significance, details information is constantly growing which assists in the assessment of individual projects and the impact this might have on buildings [181] .

In the assessment of impacts from the proposals on cultural heritage and the historic environment, whilst a national view can be taken, it is likely that the assessment will need to focus on a more local scale. It will also consider in addition to an assessment of adequate means to mitigate physical impacts caused as a result of the proposals.

Material Assets

SEA Objectives

Promote the sustainable use/reuse of all properties across Scotland to support sustainable development, reduce GHG emissions and make best use of this valuable resource

Overview of Environmental Protection Objectives

While existing policies relating to domestic and non-domestic properties across Scotland are wide-ranging, they largely share the aims of contributing to core planning objectives and supporting sustainable development, reducing GHG emissions, and making the best use of Scotland's resources and existing infrastructure.

There is a wealth of existing protection objectives and policy at the national and international levels relating to these broad topic areas. These include existing and forthcoming energy policy and climate change commitments in addition to current objectives and commitments set out in relevant policies. For example, Scotland's Land Use Strategy 2016 – 2021 [182] , NPF3 [183] and SPP [184] , and Making Things Last: A Circular Economy Strategy for Scotland [185] .

The retrofitting of energy efficiency measures to the existing built stock is an important part of the picture, and priority should be given to refurbishment over demolition [186] . This not only minimises the need for new development, but saves the need for energy locked in building materials and construction, maximises the use of existing infrastructure and maximises the use of energy embodied within that stock.

Current Environmental Baseline


Energy use - Four out of five Scottish households use mains gas as their primary heating fuel. Consumption has however fallen by 30% since the 2006 average was established [187], [188].

In 2016 39% of Scottish homes were rated as EPC band C or better and half had an energy efficiency rating of 66 or higher ( SAP 2012). This is similar to 2015 but an increase from 35% in 2014, the first year in which data based on SAP 2012 is available. In the last year, the share of older properties (1919-1944) and properties built between 1965 and 1982 in band C or better increased by 8 percentage points to 31% and 37% respectively. Using SAP 2009 continues to show improvement in the energy efficiency profile of housing. The share of the most energy efficient dwellings (rated C or better) increased from 24% in 2010 to 43% in 2016. In the same period, the proportion of properties in the lowest EPC bands (E, F or G) has almost halved, reducing from 27% to 14%. [189]

The condition of the housing stock is measured by levels of disrepair which reduced by 5% in the last year. In 2016, 68% of all dwellings had some degree of disrepair, however minor it may be, down from 73% in 2015. Disrepair to critical elements stood at 48% while 28% of dwellings had some instances of urgent disrepair and 6% had some extensive disrepair. Levels of damp and condensation remained similar to 2015. Around 9 out of 10 (89%) properties were free from any damp or condensation. Compliance with the tolerable standard in 2016 also remained similar to 2015: 2% (or 39,000) of all dwellings fell below the tolerable standard. This represents an improvement of 2 percentage points since 2012. Across the stock as a whole, Scottish Housing Quality Standard ( SHQS) compliance remained at 2015 levels. In 2016, 45% of Scottish homes failed to meet the SHQS. The SHQS failure rate in the social rented sector was 38%, not allowing for abeyances and exemptions. This has fallen from 60% in 2010. 26% of properties did not meet the Energy Efficient criterion. SHCS surveyors may not always be able to identify the presence of cavity wall insulation. The overall SHQS failure rate in the social rented sector would be 26% if it is assumed that all social dwellings have insulated cavity walls where this is technically feasible. The majority of dwellings falling below the SHQS failed on a single criterion: this accounts for more than 8 out of 10 failures in the social rented sector. For 7 out of 10 social homes which failed the SHQS this was due to falling short on a single one of the standard's 55 elements. Overcrowding levels in Scotland remain unchanged: 3% of all households (67,000) were living in overcrowded accommodation in 2016 [190] .

Non domestic

58% of all energy consumed is done so by the industrial and commercial sectors. However, since the 2005-2007 baseline, this sector has experienced the largest decrease of 23%, with non domestic gas consumption falling by 21% in the last decade, to 19,136 GWh [191], [192].

Baseline data for the building condition of the non-domestic sector is less well developed than for residential properties. As of December 2017 there were approximately 35,000 non domestic EPCs held on the Scottish EPC register. Some sectors, however, publish information which will prove useful to the Programme and the assessment of improvements in the future. The NHS, for example, confirm that the physical condition of the assets has improved over the last three years which, coupled with improvements in energy efficiency and correlating reductions in energy costs highlight the NHS commitment to a more efficient building stock for the future. [193]


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