Climate change adaptation programme: progress report 2023

Fourth annual progress report on "Climate Ready Scotland: Scotland’s Climate Change Adaptation Programme 2019 to 2024".

4. Progress on SCCAP2 'Communities' outcome

SCCAP2 Outcome 1: Our communities are inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe in response to the changing climate.

This outcome has two sub-outcomes covering the social aspects of community (such as empowerment, engagement and adaptability) and the physical aspects of community (including the built and historic environment). Aspects related to vulnerable people within communities are addressed under Outcome 2.

Examples of progress on cross-cutting policies in support of this outcome

Capacity-building and support through the Adaptation Scotland programme – In March 2023 the Adaptation Scotland Programme published a Community Climate Adaptation Routemap. The resource was developed in partnership with the Development Trusts Association Scotland, the Highlands and Islands Climate Hub, the North East Scotland Climate Action Network and the Scottish Communities Climate Action Network. It provides practical actions that communities can take to build resilience and prepare for climate change as part of addressing a wide range of local projects and priorities.

A focus on supporting locally led adaptation which involves and empowers communities cuts across many of Adaptation Scotland's projects. This includes work with the Highland Adapts initiative to include local knowledge and lived experience as a central part of the Highland regional climate risk assessment. Adaptation Scotland also works with the Outer Hebrides Community Planning Partnership Climate Change Working Group to build support for a climate rationale, a case for action and to support establishment of a Community Interest Company which will contribute to delivering locally led action in the years ahead.

Fourth National Planning Framework – The National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) was adopted on 13 January 2023 and is now in force. This followed a revised draft being laid in Parliament for approval in November 2022, which built on the previous rounds of public engagement and Parliamentary scrutiny since 2020. The adopted version is that as laid in Parliament for approval. NPF4 sets out how our approach to planning and development will help achieve a net zero, sustainable Scotland by 2045:

  • The approach addresses a range of risks from climate change including: flooding, coastal vulnerability, temperature, and access to drinking water.
  • Policy 1 'Tackling the climate and nature crises' supports a nature-based approach is for adaptation to risks from climate change.
  • Policy 2 'Climate mitigation and adaptation' is clear that new development will be sited and designed to adapt to current and future risks from climate change; and that measures to support climate adaptation measures for existing developments will be supported.
  • The approach supports the Place Principle to foster a collaborative, place based response to delivering sustainable and resilient places and communities and is clearly linked to and informed by the Climate Change Adaptation programme.

NPF4 is now part of the statutory development plan, informing planning system decision making.

The Place Principle – The new website to support the Place Principle was launched in January 2022. Aimed at communities as well as statutory, business and third sector organisations, it continues to include up-to-date content, case studies and guidance to support place-based approaches, including to adaptation.

The Place Standard – The improved version of the main Place Standard tool incorporates enhanced content to strengthen the contribution towards engaging communities and stakeholders around climate change at a local level. It was launched on the website in autumn 2022 alongside guidance and resources to support its use.

The Place Standard with a climate lens – The new "Place Standard with a climate lens" toolkit and resources were launched during Climate Week in September 2022. It was created by Scottish Government in partnership with Sniffer, Adaptation Scotland, Sustainable Scotland Network, Architecture and Design Scotland, Public Health Scotland, and others, to support projects with a specific climate-action focus to take a place-based, collaborative, and community-led approach. In October 2022 over 50 people from a range of organisations and communities across Scotland joined an over-subscribed online workshop to support 'early adopters' interested in using the tool. The partners continue to actively promote the tool through webinars, presentations and widely published articles and there continues to be a lot of interest in applying the tool to climate adaptation and mitigation both from Scotland and abroad. A supporting animation which explains, in a simple and engaging way, the key issues and how a place-based approach to climate action can contribute to better outcomes was also completed in early 2023.

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"

Community Flood Volunteer Project – We continue to support citizen science through grant funding for The Conservation Volunteers Scotland. Through community led citizen science flood monitoring projects important long term data is gathered for the councils. We continue to work with councils to extend the projects to new communities. This helps raise awareness of flood risk and the wider climate change agenda at a local level.

RiverTrack – is a local flood alerting tool that can used by communities without a formal SEPA flood warning scheme. Working with the Scottish Flood Forum and SEPA we are encouraging more communities to consider the Rivertrack system which can alert home and business owners to take action prior to a flood event. This includes deploying flood guards and moving possessions upstairs which helps to reduce flood damage

Fire and Rescue Framework – The Fire and Rescue Framework for Scotland 2022 published in March 2022, sets out Scottish Ministers' expectations of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS). SFRS continue to work with other public sector partners and communities to support action to address the climate emergency including the challenges of more extreme weather events. SFRS are working to ensure Scotland's communities are resilient and safe in response to the changing climate.

Examples of progress on policies in support of sub-outcome that: "Scotland's buildings and places are adaptable to climate change"

Additional investment in flood risk management – In addition to providing local authorities with £42 million annually for flood protection schemes, the Scottish Government have committed to invest an extra £150 million in flood risk management over this Parliament – representing a 70% increase in the flooding budget.

Flood Risk Management Plans – SEPA published the second Flood Risk Management Plans (formally called Strategies) in December 2021. The plans set out flood risk management actions for priority areas across Scotland, taking into account future flood risk information. The plans were developed in partnership with local authorities and other responsible authorities.

Local Flood Risk Management Plans – Local authorities published the second Local Flood Risk Management Plans in December 2022. Local Flood Risk Management Plans take each Flood Risk Management Plan and turn it into a local delivery plan.

Property Flood Resilience – We continue to work with a range of stakeholders on the Property Flood Resilience Delivery Group to deliver the Living with Flooding action plan. We also continue to raise awareness of the Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) Code of Practice for property flood resilience – a revised Code and short guide for property owners to help them make flood resilient repairs after a flood was published in January 2021. Flood resilient repair can lessen flood damage, reducing the time spent in temporary accommodation and the health impacts of a flood.

SEPA Flood Maps – SEPA's flood maps continue to undergo regular update and improvement. The public-focussed flood risk management map viewer launched in November 2020 continues to improve access to flood risk information. SEPA are also progressing with updating coastal flood maps. This includes taking account of wave action where appropriate / feasible.

Water Resilient Places Policy Framework – The Scottish Government continues to work with Scottish Water, SEPA and local authorities to embed the principles of the Water Resilient Places Policy Framework published in February 2021. This focuses on how we can optimise the use of our greenspace in our towns and cities to bring multiple benefits to communities, including managing surface water flooding. Drainage services policy development is currently underway in Scottish government with a view to making legislative changes to drive strategic surface water drainage and rainwater management in our urban areas. The principles and recommendations of the water Resilient Places Policy Framework are informing this work.

NPF4 was published in November 2022 and Policy 20 – Blue and Green Infrastructure is set out to protect and enhance blue and green infrastructure and their networks by establishing blue and green infrastructure as an integral part of early design and development processes. In September 2022, the Minister for Environment, Biodiversity and Land Reform hosted the Creating Water Resilient Places event that brought together chief executives and other senior leaders from across Scotland's eight cities and key government agencies to discuss the opportunities and challenges of making our urban areas water resilient places to help them respond to climate change. Local authorities and government agencies committed to exploring the opportunity to integrate water resilient placemaking into the Scottish Cities Alliance programme of work.

Heat in Buildings Programme (previously Energy Efficient Scotland) – The Scottish Government published its Heat in Buildings Strategy in October 2021 which updates the 2018 Energy Efficient Scotland Route Map. Our delivery programmes continue to prioritise `fabric first' but increasingly deliver a wider range of improvements as part of a `whole house' approach. Energy efficiency measures, such as external wall insulation, and passive measures, such as ventilation and shading, can improve the resilience of Scotland's buildings to the increased adverse weather projected as a result of climate change which might cause increased demand for both heating and cooling, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For some communities and fuel poor households we are also investing in renewables and battery storage, which can help to reduce energy demand but also improve resilience.

Advice and support under the Heat in Buildings Programme – The Scottish Government continues to provide support, including grants and low costs loans, to property owners to help them retrofit their properties to make them more energy efficient and convert to zero emission heating. Home Energy Scotland and Business Energy Scotland continue to offer impartial advice on energy retrofit and energy saving measures. Additional funding is also available through the CARES programme to support some of Scotland's most remote and rural off-grid communities to upgrade their energy systems and make them more resilient and sustainable for the future.

Building regulations and standards – Public consultation on improvement to energy and environmental standards (as set through building regulations) took place between July and November 2021. The Scottish Government's review programme set out plans for the publication of revised standards for April 2022 and from 1 February 2023, building regulations address overheating in new homes and some other new residential buildings, with further consideration to be given to this topic as part of future review of energy and ventilation standards.

Tidal Flooding on the Clyde – In May 2022, ClimateXChange (CXC) published a report on tidal flooding on the Clyde which set put to explore the evidence base to help design and apply adaptation (investment) pathways to the tidal reach of the Clyde drawing on international practice and UK guidance. The report confirmed the approach to adaptation needs to be transformation-oriented, with place making and resilience at the heart of investment decision making and future pathway design.

Our Place in Time: the Historic Environment Strategy for Scotland (OPiT) – Climate Change Working Group – The existing strategy for the historic environment in Scotland, Our Place in Time 2014-2024 (OPiT), is currently being reviewed and refreshed in response to the changed strategic context in Scotland, including the announcement of a climate emergency. During the Strategy's public consultation, 'Enabling the transition to Net Zero' was proposed as one of its three priorities which cover adaptation measures needed. The Green Recovery Statement, published by HES in April 2022, includes the land management of the historic environment as a key principle in helping to building resilient landscapes that are adaptive to climate change. The National Trust for Scotland, a member of the CCWG, this year appointed its first Climate Change Coordinator whose work scope will include adaptation.

Historic Environment Policy for Scotland (2019-2029) – We have started a strategic review of our Managing Change guidance series, including looking at themes arising from NPF4 as well as other policy areas such as forestry and agriculture. The review will identify areas where the sustainable management of the historic environment will support and enable positive action to tackle the twin nature and climate crises. We have recently consulted on draft guidance on Fire and historic buildings, and have set new consultation standards with topic specific questions on climate adaptation.

Historic Environment Scotland Climate Change and Environmental Action Plan (CCEAP) – HES published its Summary Sustainability Report 2021-2022 as part of its Annual Report and Financial Statements in November 2022. In 2022, the adaptation area greatly benefited from a partially dedicated staff resource as they were joined by a fixed-term Biodiversity and Climate Change Coordinator and Sustainable Travel Officer (seconded from Sustrans) to progress the Biodiversity and Landscape and Sustainable Travel themes.

Funding from the Royal Society of Edinburgh enabled the continued roll-out of the application of the Climate Vulnerability Index (CVI) methodology across Scottish World Heritage Sites. We also published the results of the CVI assessments for the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh and Frontiers of the Roman Empire: the Antonine Wall. We hosted CVI Foundational Training in Edinburgh in September 2022, which was delivered by our JCU partners and attracted national and international participants.

Research for Buildings and Heritage Assets – HES published a technical paper on Architecture and Health in Traditional Buildings in May 2022 discussing how buildings were designed to enable proper ventilation. It also considers how good ventilation can help to prevent airborne diseases, build-up of chemical compounds and CO2 and overheating, the last of which is essential to effective climate change adaptation. HES also published a technical paper on Hygrothermal Properties of Scottish Masonry Materials in October 2022 describing research on the hygrothermal properties of Scottish masonry so that they can be correctly input in relevant modelling software such as WUFI. Such practical research is essential to inform moisture risk management in the context of energy efficiency retrofit and a changing climate.

How the Adaptation Scotland programme is supporting this outcome:

Adaptation Scotland continues to support cities, regions, islands and localities to increase resilience and adapt to climate change. This includes contributing to the Edinburgh Adapts initiative which has developed a new city wide climate risk assessment and is co-developing a city wide adaptation plan which will go out for public consultation in summer 2023. We have also provided valuable expertise to support development of the Place Standard through a Climate Lens tool and draft guidance on coastal adaptation.

We completed work with the Tyndall Centre for Climate Research to identify how the OpenCLIM framework can support regional climate risk assessments in the Highlands and Edinburgh and South East Scotland. Following this we secured ongoing support from the Tyndall Centre to apply the framework in the Highlands in support of the regional climate risk assessment.



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