2. The SEA Process and Findings
2.1. The SEA Process
2.1.1. The Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 (the '2005 Act') requires public bodies in Scotland to carry out SEA on their plans, programmes and strategies. SEA is a way of examining plans, programmes and strategies as they develop, to identify any significant effects they may have on the environment. It ensures that environmental considerations are taken into account in the plan preparation. SEA also aims to build in mitigation measures, to avoid or minimise any potentially significant adverse effects on the environment, and look for opportunities to enhance a plan's environmental performance.
2.1.2. A joint Screening and Scoping report was prepared in September 2018 and responses were invited from consultation authorities on the scope of the SEA. All three consultation authorities (Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Historic Environment Scotland (HES)) submitted responses to the joint Screening and Scoping Report and these were used to inform both the development of the Programme and the following stages of the SEA assessment.
2.1.3. All environmental topics were scoped into the Environmental Report assessment. The assessment progressed alongside the preparation of the consultation draft programme and focused on the seven adaptation outcomes.
2.1.4. The Environmental Report was published alongside the draft Programme in February 2019 and was subject to public consultation in the period February-April 2019.
2.1.5. This Post Adoption Statement concludes the SEA process and includes information on how the responses received to the consultation and the Environmental Report have been taken into account in finalising Climate Ready Scotland: Scotland's Climate Change Adaptation Programme
2.1.6. Section 18(3) of the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 sets out the information that should be included in the Post Adoption Statement. This can be summarised as:
- how the environmental considerations have been integrated into the plan, programme, or strategy;
- how the Environmental Report has been taken into account;
- how the opinions of consultees have been taken into account;
- the reasons for choosing the strategy as adopted, in light of the other reasonable alternatives considered; and
- the measures to be taken to monitor the significant environmental effects of the implementation of the plan, programme or strategy.
2.2. Integration of Environmental Considerations into the Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme 2019-2024
2.2.1. This section explains how key environmental considerations were identified and how these were taken into account in the development of the final version of Scotland's Climate Change Adaptation Programme 2019-2024.
2.2.2. Preparing the environmental baseline as part of the Environmental Report aided in taking into account environmental considerations in the development of the draft Programme. The emerging SEA baseline was used to inform discussions at six outcome workshops held during October, November and December 2018. The written outputs of these workshops were then fed into the development of the draft Programme.
2.2.3. In the preparation of the draft Programme, the Scottish Government ran an engagement campaign with external stakeholders and the public which aimed to raise the profile of climate change adaptation, gain support for the Programme and inform its monitoring and evaluation framework development.
2.2.4. Engagement was undertaken across three strands including digital engagement, outcome-focused workshops and climate conversations. The first strand, digital engagement, involved seven interactive Twitter events hosted by the Scottish Government, one for each outcome. These events were used to reach out to communities across Scotland and ask them about their experiences of climate change and priorities for climate change adaptation action.
2.2.5. The responses to the digital engagement were then fed into a second strand of engagement. Seven stakeholder engagement workshops took place across Scotland to enable engagement with key stakeholders on each outcome. The emerging SEA baseline was also used to inform discussions at the workshops, the written outputs of which were then fed into the development of the draft programme.
2.2.6. The final strand was climate conversations. The Climate Change Adaptation Conversations provide a step-by-step 'how to' guide for people to facilitate conversations about climate change adaptation with a small group of people. The Scottish Government identified relevant audiences with conversations enabling us to reach groups not likely to engage in the workshops. The purpose of these conversations was to discover people's priorities for adaptation, as well as raise awareness of the public consultation.
2.2.7. The seven adaptation outcomes in the consultation draft Programme were subject to environmental assessment with the results of the assessment informing their further development.
2.3. The Findings of the SEA
2.3.1. The SEA Environmental Report concluded that the draft Programme will have significant positive effects on climatic factors with positive effects in the medium to long term considered likely for all other environmental receptors assessed (biodiversity, population and human health, soil, water, air, landscape, material assets, and cultural heritage).
2.3.2. Key opportunities for enhancement were identified as part of the SEA process across five of the seven draft Programme outcomes. To realise the maximum environmental benefits within the Programme, there could be:
- a greater focus on actions which support the differing needs of communities, particularly those with increased vulnerability to climate change – both spatially (remote, rural, and coastal communities) and socio-economically (isolated and deprived communities);
- an emphasis on multiple adaptation benefits, such as the adaptation of buildings to climate change resulting in the reduction of internal cold temperatures which has the potential to lead to a reduction in fuel poverty; and
- a focus on protecting vulnerable cultural and marine heritage assets as well as wider locations and infrastructure with recognised vulnerability to the effects of climate change; these could include coastal and isolated locations, as well as power and fuel supply infrastructure; furthermore, consideration could be given to systems with climate change vulnerabilities such as those at risk of flooding, heat stress and slope instability.
2.3.3. Additionally, where future actions are identified as having the potential to result in uncertain or mixed adverse effects, further consideration should be given to mitigation measures at the individual project level. Existing consenting procedures can help address these at the local level.
2.3.4. Finally, the findings of the SEA support outcomes working towards an increased understanding and awareness of climate change adaptation. The SEA also identified that current adaptation strategies can benefit from research and further awareness raising to ensure the appropriate direction of resourcing and avoidance of unintended secondary adverse environmental effects.