Chapter 2: Progress towards "the people in Scotland who are most vulnerable to climate change being able to adapt and climate justice being embedded in climate change adaptation policy"
To improve the ability of people in Scotland to adapt to climate change, those who are more vulnerable must first be engaged and empowered in their own communities. The second chapter of SCCAP2 sets out policies to ensure that adaptation happens in a manner that is people-centred, fair and just.
When people are already vulnerable, climate change can have a compounding effect, worsening overall outcomes, particularly those associated with health and wellbeing. At present there is an immediate public health emergency in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, but in the longer term it remains the case that everyone's health can also be affected by climate change and those who are socially disadvantaged, older, very young or experiencing chronic health problems may be less able to cope.
Location and place can also be a factor in increasing vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, for example, for those who live in a flood prone area, or those who live in remote or island communities.
Examples of progress to policies in support of this outcome
Cleaner Air for Scotland Strategy - An online survey was undertaken between October and December 2019, to obtain views on the recommendations arising from the independent review of Cleaner Air for Scotland. The comments will be used to inform the development of a new Air Quality Strategy during 2020. The final annual progress report for the current version of Cleaner Air for Scotland was published in March 2020. Air quality is an important aspect of public health and action on this is interlinked with both climate change mitigation and adaptation.
NHS Board Climate Change Risk Assessments and Adaptation Plans - NHS National Services Scotland has developed a planning tool to enable NHS Boards to identify, assess and mitigate climate change risks, and to develop appropriate adaptation plans to ensure continuity of service. All NHS Boards will be expected to have a completed Climate Change Risk Assessment and Adaptation Plan by the end of 2021.
The Place Principle - The Place Principle was adopted by the Scottish Government and COSLA in March 2019. The Principle calls on those responsible for providing services and looking after assets in a place to work and plan together with local communities to improve the lives of people, support inclusive and sustainable growth and create more successful places that will be capable of adapting to climate change. The Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government wrote to all Non-Departmental Public Body and public agency Chief Executives in August 2019 to encourage their adoption and consideration of how this would change the way they worked.
Walking and Cycling Networks: During the COVID-19 lockdown, the Scottish Government announced £10 million to support pop-up walking and cycling routes or temporary improvements to existing routes. Prior to this, Transport Scotland have invested £7 million in the National Cycle network in 2019-20, delivering projects such as those on route 78 near Ledaig and Duror and on route 7 near Castle Semple.
Electric Vehicle Charging Network through ChargePlace Scotland: The use of electric vehicles helps to improve local air quality and therefore public health and wellbeing. The ChargePlace Scotland network now has over 1200 publically available charge points, an increase of over 350 since 2019.
How the Adaptation Scotland programme is supporting this outcome
Adaptation Scotland is collaborating with Public Health Scotland to increase awareness of the links between health inequalities, climate change adaptation and climate justice. This work, targeted at public health professionals and those leading climate change adaptation policy and planning, highlights the differential impacts on health and wellbeing and the potential for co-benefits if action to adapt to climate change takes opportunities to improve health and reduce health inequalities into account. A briefing and accompanying report is expected to be published later in 2020.
Adaptation Scotland's Adaptation Capability Framework provides health boards with guidance on how to develop their work to adapt to climate change. The Framework is endorsed by NHS National Services Scotland and complements their specialist climate change risk assessment resources.
Adaptation Scotland has been working with the Scottish Government's Place Standard team to develop climate change questions and content that will be included in the revised Place Standard tool (see chapter 1). The new content will enable communities to discuss climate change impacts and adaptation as part of their local placemaking. The current version of the tool is already widely used and it will be important to encourage further use within vulnerable communities in particular.
Adaptation Scotland is committed to building capacity and supporting remote and island communities to adapt. New adaptation initiatives are currently being developed in the Highlands and Outer Hebrides in collaboration with local partners. These initiatives will lead to adaptation plans and actions that address local priorities.
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