New report identifies practical opportunities for businesses and communities to combat the impact of climate change in Scotland

Potential Adaptation Strategies for Climate Change in Scotland will act as the basis of a consultation on the development of a Scottish policy response to combat the impacts of climate change and recommends a co-ordinated strategy to allow the country to adapt to future conditions.

The report, compiled by the Centre for Study of Environmental Change and Sustainability at Edinburgh University and funded by the Scottish Executive, says that existing management frameworks in Scotland are utilised, but the development of local stakeholder groups are also critical for developing a strategy based on the Executive and local decision-making. Climate risk management should be integrated into the planning process of all organisations with responsibilities for long life assets, the report says. For example, for the water authorities, as a major holder of long-life assets, the adaptation priority is to develop infrastructure robust to present weather extremes, by integrating climate risk into business planning and investment.

The delicate balance between minimising climate risk, particularly from flooding, and enabling social and economic development though the land use planning framework should continue to be observed, while the use of strategic management frameworks for defined landscape areas within Scotland would assist the development of adaptation policies. In addition, the development of measures to minimise greenhouse gas emissions from land use must be designed in conjunction with measures to minimise adverse climate impacts, the report concludes.

“I want Scotland to be proactive in dealing with these changes so we can avoid much of the misery and expense of dealing with the aftermath of extreme weather events such as flooding,” commented Deputy Environment Minister Rhona Brankin. “The report emphasises the need for effective communication and the Executive has taken the opportunity of publishing this research to invite key stakeholders to a seminar to be held later this month to discuss how we might develop an adaptation strategy for Scotland.”

The report can be ordered from the Executive’s website for £5.

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