Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme: progress report 2020

First annual progress report on Climate Ready Scotland: Scotland's Climate Change Adaptation programme 2019 to 2024.

Chapter 8: Progress to SCCAP2 research commitments

Building the evidence base around climate change adaptation through research is vital to guide policy and support the high-level outcomes set out in SCCAP2 for communities, businesses and the natural environment. Across five of the seven outcomes in SCCAP2, a total of 25 commitments to undertake research projects were included. This programme of work will enhance our knowledge of climate risk and provide proposals for innovative ways in which Scotland can adapt to the changing climate.

The SCCAP2 research programme builds from a wide range of already completed research under the previous programme, a summary of which can be found within SCCAP2 itself. The following are just two examples of the previous work, i) a series of soil risk maps to help farmers identify areas vulnerable to erosion, compaction, leaching and runoff, and ii) a framework developed by ClimateXChange (CXC) for gathering the evidence on climate risks required to estimate the extent to which Scottish businesses are exposed to climate-related hazards.

This chapter identifies key areas of progress on the SCCAP2 research programme since its publication in September 2019.

The following pieces of research have been completed and published:

  • In October 2019, Historic Environment Scotland published a Guide to Climate Change Impacts on Scotland's Historic Environment. This can be used to identify and share climate change adaptation solutions and many of the risks and hazards of climate change that are facing Scotland's historic environment. It offers owners, local communities and carers of historic sites options for action to implement adaptation measures and enhance resilience to climate change.
  • In November 2019, the Plant Health Centre published the final three reports in its series of research into plant pests and their behaviour under different climate scenarios. The project uses modelling to investigate the effectiveness of national surveillance monitoring aimed at detecting a Xylella fastidiosa outbreak in Scotland.
  • In December 2019, CXC published a report assessing the use of managed adaptive flood risk planning in Scotland, in the context of increasing and uncertain risks relating to climate change. Drawing on Scottish case study evidence, it presents eight key recommendations for how guidance can be changed to facilitate more adaptive approaches in cases where this can be valuable.
  • In February 2020, the Centre for Expertise on Waters (CREW) published a report on the long-term impacts of flooding, following the 2015/16 floods in North East Scotland. The report identifies key findings on the impact on people and businesses and recommends measures to be taken before, during and after incidences of flooding.

The following CXC research projects are currently underway:

  • A project on a case study approach to identify the impact climate change is having on social care delivery. The study looks at how the social care sector is currently planning for, dealing with and learning from extreme weather events and incremental climate change. The project is in its final draft stage.
  • Researching methods and data sources to assess recovery from extreme weather events by comparing international recovery monitoring frameworks and assessing their suitability in Scotland. The drafting of this report is in its final stages and will make recommendations covering key monitoring categories in the international examples; social, human, financial and physical capital.
  • A project on reviewing current sources of information on soil health and its vulnerability to climate change.
  • A study to provide a baseline for uptake of property flood resilience in Scotland. It will also form the basis for a separate project to identify how home owners and businesses can be encouraged and enabled to protect their properties from flooding.

In addition to the above projects from the SCCAP2 research programme, a further development has been publication, in March 2020, of an economic research study commissioned by the Climate Ready Clyde initiative (with funding from the Scottish Government) on the economic and financial risks of climate change for then Glasgow City Region. This evidence will inform the Climate Ready Clyde Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, due for publication during 2020-2021.

The remaining commitments for future research projects highlighted in SCCAP2 will be progressed during the remainder of the five-year implementation period for the programme. In addition, new research priorities will continue to be identified and the findings arising from ongoing and completed projects will be disseminated and incorporated into adaptation policy where appropriate.



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