Chapter 1: Progress toward "our communities being inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe in response to the changing climate"
Our communities are shaped by the quality and character of the places we live and the people we live amongst. As Scotland begins to recover from COVID-19, we must ensure that our communities are able to adapt to the effects of climate change if they are to continue to flourish in the longer term. As communities form a fundamental component of our ability to adapt, SCCAP2 begins with a focus on these outcomes.
The changing climate will impact all of Scotland's communities and each will be affected in different ways. Across Scotland, climate change will generally bring hotter, drier summers and warmer, wetter winters. In summer, more intense rainfall could bring heavy rainstorms with increased surface water flooding. In winter, more frequent rainfall could bring increased flooding from rivers and increased damage to buildings from wind driven rain. Increased storminess could result in increased coastal erosion, surges and wave overtopping of coastal defences and infrastructure. Sea level rise could affect the viability of some coastal communities through flooding and erosion. Local communities will need to take action to adapt to these changes, some sooner than others, depending on the local geography and social and economic conditions.
The Scottish Government believes that communities are best placed to make decisions and take action themselves, shaped by their own local geographies and demographics. 'Placemaking' is therefore used as a theme in this chapter of SCCAP2 -this is the idea that each place should be planned, designed, and managed to suit the needs and aspirations of the people who live there.
Progress on cross-cutting policies in support of this outcome
The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 has strengthened the role of climate change adaptation considerations in the planning process by requiring Ministers to have regard to statutory adaptation programmes (currently SCCAP2) when preparing future iterations of the National Planning Framework. The 'Transforming Planning in Practice - Post Bill Work Programme' was published on 30 September 2019 and sets out a phased programme of work to implement most of the new Act. Early engagement has begun on the preparation of National Planning Framework 4 which, when complete, will combine the National Planning Framework and Scottish Planning Policy in a single document and will have development plan status for decision-making locally. Further information on the Planning Reform work packages and National Planning Framework can be found at: www.transformingplanning.scot.
The Place Standard Tool - An improvement programme led by the Place Standard implementation partners (Scottish Government, Public Health Scotland, Architecture & Design Scotland, Glasgow City Council, and the Improvement Service) is currently underway. This has involved extensive engagement with stakeholders and communities, including those with a particular interest in climate change adaptation. By integrating enhanced prompts relating to place-based climate change adaptation, mitigation and sustainability within the relevant tool themes, the contribution of the Place Standard tool to addressing climate change will be strengthened. An independently pre-tested and enhanced new version of the Place Standard tool will be launched later in 2020 on a new Place website along with revised guidance and further information to support place-based approaches.
Examples of progress on policies in support of sub-outcome that: "People in Scotland's diverse communities are informed, empowered and adapting to climate change".
The Scottish Flood Forum - The Scottish Government continues to grant fund the Forum to work with communities at flood risk. The grant was increased to £189,000 in 2019-20 to enable the Forum to support the Property Flood Resilience Delivery Group.
Scottish flood forecasting and warning services - SEPA has improved the Isle of Bute Flood Warning scheme, offering a more accurate flood warning service in the Kames Bay / Port Bannatyne area. A Flood Guidance Statement continues to be issued daily to all of Scotland's emergency response, utility and transport organisations. The Floodline service continues to provide information to registered users on when flooding is likely in their area. These services have all been tested for remote operation and remain operational (at the time of writing) during pandemic response. SEPA is committed to supporting people throughout the public health emergency and beyond; this includes maintaining its gauging network to support our flood forecasting and warning system.
RiverTrack - The SEPA-sponsored RiverTrack community alerting system has been extended in 2019 by a funding partnership brokered between Scottish and Southern Energy Networks and the Scottish Flood Forum. This system has enabled communities like Fintry, Blair Atholl and Alyth, where SEPA's own flood warning capabilities are limited, to improve their resilience to flooding.
Examples of progress on policies in support of sub-outcome that: "Scotland's buildings and places are adaptable to climate change"
SEPA "One Planet Prosperity - Our Flooding Strategy" - Following early engagement with partners and stakeholders SEPA's draft Flooding Strategy is ready for consultation. The consultation was intended to open on April 2020 but has been postponed in response to the current public health crisis. SEPA intends to formally consult stakeholders when it is appropriate, once the emergency of the pandemic has eased.
Property Flood Resilience Action Plan - In November 2019, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform launched the Living with Flooding Action Plan. The Action Plan was developed by the Property Flood Resilience Delivery Group and has a range of actions to promote the use of flood resilient repairs and property level protection.
Flood Risk Management knowledge service - during 2019-20 this Scottish Government funded service included workshops with SEPA, consultants and other stakeholders to consider climate change allowances for flood risk assessment in land use planning. There was also a strong adaptation theme at the annual conference, attended by 250 delegates.
Scotland's Learning Estate - In September 2019, the Scottish Government announced 11 projects as part of a first phase of the new £1 billion Learning Estate Investment Programme to coincide with the publication of the new Learning Estate Strategy. This initial phase of projects will seek to demonstrate the principles of the strategy, which recognises the need to ensure learning environments are able to adapt to climate change. Furthermore, the new Learning Estate Investment Programme builds on the success of the previous £1.8 billion Schools for the Future Programme which will see the construction or refurbishment of 117 schools and will benefit over 60,000 pupils by August 2020. The 99th and 100th schools as part of the Scotland's Schools for the Future Programme were officially opened by the Deputy First Minister in January 2020.
How the Adaptation Scotland programme is supporting this outcome
There is no one size fits all approach for communities in adapting to climate change. Adaptation Scotland is working across Scotland to support cities, regions and local communities to develop pioneering place-based adaptation approaches that reflect local needs and priorities.
Adaptation Scotland's climate risk assessment toolkit for major projects is freely available online and is currently being used by several major organisations to screen built-environment projects for climate risks.
As two examples of how Adaptation Scotland also supports local planning to manage risks:
- collaboration with Aberdeen City Council led to a city-wide Aberdeen Adapts Strategy, approved in December 2019. The strategy was developed in collaboration with public, private and community sector stakeholders and included engagement with children, young people and community members from across the city.
- input from Adaptation Scotland to the Our Place In Time working group and Edinburgh Adapts initiatives is supporting the adaptation of Scotland's historic built environment.
Local government has a vital role to play in progressing community resilience. Adaptation Scotland has delivered training in collaboration with COSLA, as well as engaged on a one-to-one basis with local authorities, increasing understanding and supporting regional and local adaptation action. The Highland Council's support for the emerging Highland Adapts initiative, including a strong focus on community engagement, is one example of increased local authority engagement and action.
Finally, in support of the theme of placemaking, Adaptation Scotland is building capacity and driving innovation through a new place-based adaptation expert working group. The group brings together planners, climate change professionals, flood risk experts and community development specialists to share learning and accelerate progress.