Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme

Details Scottish Minister's objectives, policies and proposals to tackle the climate change impacts to Scotland from the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment.

Section 2: Engaging Others

This section sets out the arrangements for involving employers, trade unions and other stakeholders in meeting Scottish Ministers objectives; and the mechanisms for ensuring public engagement in meeting those objectives, as required by Section 53(2)(a)(iii) and (iv) of the Act.

The impacts identified in the CCRA are for Scotland as a whole, not just the Scottish Government. The long-term sustainability of Scotland in a changing climate will depend on businesses, government, organisations, communities and the individuals in them accepting responsibility for their share of action and working collaboratively. In some cases it will require a behaviour change - in others a continuation or adaption of their efforts. This section describes the mechanisms which will continue to develop to support the objectives in this Programme.

Some mechanisms will bring together stakeholders from across sectors. For example, Adaptation Scotland's Climate Ready Clyde project has brought together participants from over 40 different public, private and community sector organisations. Participants include individual organisations and businesses as well as key regional partnerships such as the Metropolitan Glasgow Strategic Drainage Partnership, the Glasgow and Clyde Valley Strategic Development Planning Authority and the Glasgow and Clyde Valley Green Network Partnership.

Case Study

Climate Ready Clyde case study

Organisations from across Glasgow and the Clyde Valley have come together to develop a shared response to the risks and opportunities that the region is facing from climate change. The project was kick-started by Adaptation Scotland in autumn 2011 with input from Glasgow City Council. Participants from key regional partnerships including the Metropolitan Glasgow Strategic Drainage Partnership, the Glasgow and Clyde Valley Green Network Partnership and the Glasgow and Clyde Valley Strategic Development Planning Authority are actively involved with the project along with over 40 other organisations and businesses from the private, public and third sectors.

Climate Ready Clyde has already increased understanding of how changes in climate are likely to affect different organisations, services and sectors across the region, and how the responses of individual sectors and organisations will have knock-on effects on the ability of others to respond.

The project shows that organisations and businesses are willing and able to work across traditional institutional and sector boundaries to address risks and opportunities from climate change. Whilst Adaptation Scotland's facilitation role was crucial in supporting the project at the start, the legacy of the project is of new working relationships and a shared vision of a Climate Ready Clyde.

Glasgow and Clyde Valley
Adaptation Scotland

A number of partner organisations will be directly involved in delivering policies aimed at achieving long term objectives, such as SNH, SEPA, Historic Scotland and Forestry Commission Scotland, as highlighted in this Programme. In addition to this direct role for specific organisations, the following mechanisms will ensure wider engagement in achieving the Programme's objectives.

Public Bodies

In addition to being major employers in Scotland, public bodies have a key role in building a resilient Scotland prepared for the challenges of the changing climate. Through the public bodies climate change duties, relevant public bodies are required to help deliver this Programme.

Public Bodies Climate Change Duties

Section 44(1) of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 requires public bodies, as defined in the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 as amended, to act in the way best calculated to help deliver the Scottish Government's programme for adaptation to climate change. All public bodies need to be resilient to the future climate and to plan for business continuity in relation to delivery of their functions and the services they deliver to the wider community. Public bodies can also influence Scotland's resilience by, for example, protecting ecosystem services such as natural flood management.

Guidance [13] to assist public bodies comply with the duties has been published by the Scottish Government.

The Public Sector Climate Action Group was established in 2010 to provide leadership and direction to ensure the public sector plays its part in delivering the challenging targets in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 and to provide co-ordination between the public and private sectors. Membership was drawn from across Scottish public bodies, and a link established with the private sector through the Chair of the 2020 Climate Group joining as an observer.

These leadership arrangements are currently under review to consider alternative structures that can provide effective and mainstreamed arrangements to support public sector action on climate change, including achieving the objectives set by this Programme.

Local Authorities

Local authorities work at the heart of every local community and are ideally placed to lead the community response to climate change. With knowledge of local needs, industries and landscapes, local government allows adaptation actions to be tailored effectively to localised impacts of climate change. Local authorities can also work in partnership with their broader community of local estate managers, employers, community leaders and planning partners in preparing for a changing climate. Local authorities across Scotland are working hard to build capacity and take action in response to the risks and opportunities that they face as a result of changes in climate.

In 2007, all 32 Scottish local authorities showed their commitment to acting on climate change by signing Scotland's Climate Change Declaration. This represented a voluntary commitment to take action and report annually on work to reduce emissions and adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change. In their work on climate change adaptation, local authorities have shown their leadership on strategic and targeted action across all themes of the Programme and examples of this are illustrated within case studies in the Programme.

The Scottish Government is supporting local authorities, and their Community Planning Partners, through Adaptation Scotland to assess risks and opportunities from the impacts of climate change to service provision and assets. In 2013, COSLA was a partner in revising Adaptation Scotland's publication Adapting to Climate Change: An introduction for Public Sector Policy Makers, Resource Managers & Practitioners [14] . This publication shares best practice in existing local authority partnership approaches to climate change adaptation and outlines support and tools available to the public sector.

Adaptation Scotland

A key mechanism through which the Scottish Government will ensure wider engagement with employers, the public and other stakeholders in meeting the objectives in this Programme will be through its support for Adaptation Scotland.

Adaptation Scotland is a service funded by the Scottish Government to work across sectors to increase awareness and preparedness to the impacts of climate change. Delivered by Sniffer, the service provides support to help public and private sector employers, and the public through their communities, implement policies and actions that will enable them to build resilience to current weather and climate and, adapt to future climate change. Adaptation Scotland's highly networked approach encourages new connections, collaborations and innovations.

Examples of Adaptation Scotland activities

Public sector

Through partnership working with the Sustainable Scotland Network, COSLA and major public bodies, Adaptation Scotland is working strategically to influence adaptation work across the public sector. This has included a priority focus on promoting the implementation of a risk based approach to adaptation and providing an annual review of local authority adaptation progress.

Adaptation Scotland published Scotland's Climate Change Adaptation Workbook and has used this resource as the basis for public sector engagement and training programmes. Scotland's 32 local authorities are encouraged to use the five stages of the workbook as a basis for reporting on their adaptation work in annual reports submitted as part of Scotland's Climate Change Declaration. The workbook will continue to be developed to support public bodies' compliance with the Public Bodies Climate Change Duties.

Adaptation Scotland has published an introduction to climate change adaptation for the public sector.

Private Sector

Adaptation Scotland is a member of Scotland's 2020 Climate Group Business Engagement sub-group and plays a key role in raising awareness of adaptation among group members. Between 2011 and 2012, Adaptation Scotland delivered a pilot project to help Royal Mail, FirstGroup UK Bus (Scotland) and First ScotRail to assess their climate risks. The outputs of the pilot project will be used to inform future partnership working and encourage wider uptake of adaptation planning support among the business community. Adaptation Scotland has also published adaptation guidance for businesses and developed a business adaptation planning template which is being trialled with 2020 Group sub group members. The template will be available for use by all businesses.


Adaptation Scotland is working with communities and partner organisations to better understand the challenges that Scotland's communities will face as a result of climate change and, develop resources to raise awareness and help support on the ground action.

Adaptation Scotland has piloted an innovative new resource: 'Are You Ready?' to help community groups better understand and respond to the challenges that they face as a result of current weather and future climate change. Adaptation Scotland has also developed workshops that can be used to help communities carry out more detailed adaptation planning work. A guide to running these workshops has been published online along with accompanying resources.

Adaptation Scotland has also supported piloting of community adaptation projects as part of the Scottish Government's Climate Challenge Fund.

Place based adaptation

No one organisation will be able to adapt to climate change in isolation and Adaptation Scotland is supporting stakeholders to work collaboratively to adapt to climate change.

Adaptation Scotland is working in partnership with the Key Agencies Group [15] and local and strategic planning authorities to develop guidance, resources and training sessions that will help to embed adaptation at the heart of planning and place-making.

Adaptation Scotland is also supporting stakeholders in Glasgow and the Clyde Valley to develop a regional climate change adaptation strategy and action plan. The Climate Ready Clyde project has provided an important opportunity for stakeholders to work together to raise awareness of the challenges and opportunities facing the region and begin work to develop a shared response.

Climate Justice

Working in partnership with Scottish Government and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Adaptation Scotland co-organised Scotland's first conference in September 2012 on how climate justice now needs to be seen as a domestic issue so that vulnerable groups and communities in Scotland are engaged and resilient to a changing climate. Adaptation Scotland's work programme will build on lessons from this landmark event through close collaboration with others in the public and third/community sector.

Key messages on climate change

Adaptation Scotland is identifying key messages and actions that will make Scotland less vulnerable to climate change. This work is crucial for a consistent message on climate change across Scotland. Adaptation Scotland is also collating a series of case studies to bring adaptation to life.


ClimateXChange is Scotland's Centre of Expertise on Climate Change. It is funded by the Scottish Government and provides research to inform climate change policy making in Scotland. The virtual centre involves researchers across 16 Scottish research and higher education institutions. ClimateXChange has a programme of research projects that support adaptation decision making across sectors in Scotland. The ClimateXChange programme addresses four key adaptation questions:

  • how do we measure progress in adaptation?;
  • how do we understand what the future might look like for different sectors?;
  • what are the costs, benefits and equity of different adaptation options? and;
  • what can we learn from adaptation in practice?

ClimateXChange also responds to particular policy-relevant questions as these arise, and is working with a range of sector stakeholders on projects that address particular issues. Examples include: working with foresters and the forestry policy community to expand our understanding of how Scotland's native woodlands can adapt to a changing climate; and, working with emergency responders to consider the resourcing issues around ensuring climate change preparedness in the emergency and rescue services.

ClimateXChange's adaptation research:

Measuring adaptation progress

ClimateXChange is developing indicators that will allow us to measure climate change adaptation. The project is establishing baseline information that gives us a picture of where we are starting from. It also provides tools to assess the nature, extent and effectiveness of adaptation responses.

Scenarios - exploring different possible futures

ClimateXChange is using scenario analysis to support the development of adaptation strategies and actions. The project is analysing key climate change risks and opportunities and linking these with wider socio-economic changes. The resulting scenarios can provide a deeper understanding of future climate change impacts and responses across different sectors.

Adaptation costs and benefits

The project is considering the full range of costs, benefits and trade-offs associated with particular adaptation actions. These include impacts on people's well-being.

Demonstrating adaptation in practice

ClimateXChange is working with 'on the ground' specialists and practitioners such as farmers and foresters to provide knowledge on emerging adaptation issues. ClimateXChange is establishing a range of case studies, demonstration sites and networks, which cover sectors including: farming; woodlands and forestry; housing; and river catchments.

2020 Climate Group

Many businesses are assessing their vulnerability to climate change and are seeking to develop appropriate adaptation strategies. The Scottish Government is promoting better coordination and sharing of knowledge and practice.

Through its support of the 2020 Climate Group, the Scottish Government has identified the importance of working collaboratively with the business sector in outlining and leading the strategic direction needed to combat the effects of climate change.

Joint Communiqué on Climate Change from the Scottish Government and the Scottish Trades Union Congress

The Scottish Government and the STUC agreed a joint Communique on Climate Change on 27 May 2009 [16] . The joint communiqué outlines shared aims and objectives, and a commitment to work in partnership to ensure the creation of high quality jobs through Scotland's transition to a low carbon economy and states that: "Addressing the economic, employment and social impacts of the transition to the low-carbon economy and adapting to climate change will be vital to building stakeholder support and delivering the necessary programmes of action." It agrees to jointly "Promote the importance of education, training, skills and workforce development in delivering effective action on climate change".

Low Carbon Scotland: Behaviours Framework

The Low Carbon Scotland: Behaviours Framework [17] sets out the Scottish Government's strategic approach to encourage low carbon lifestyles amongst Scotland's individuals and households. While the focus of this Framework is supporting behaviours to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, engagement on these issues can also provide opportunities to engage on adapting to the changing climate. For example:

  • Climate Challenge Fund ( CCF) - Since 2008, the Climate Challenge Fund has been supporting communities to tackle climate change by reducing their carbon emissions. While continuing to support the transition to low-carbon living, new approaches to encourage communities to generate local ideas to address the impact of climate change are being explored.
  • Low Carbon Dialogues - a range of people out with our regular stakeholder

network are being invited to take part in a series of Low Carbon Dialogues with the Minister for Environment and Climate Change, which started in March 2013. The themes for these bi-annual discussions will include both mitigation and adaptation issues with a focus on behaviour change.

  • Low Carbon Networks - including Eco-congregations, Sustainable Scotland Network, Eco-schools and the Scottish Communities Climate Action Network, raise awareness of climate change and the impacts of this.


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