Holyrood unveils new steps to protect Scotland from worst effects of climate change

The Scottish Government has launched a new programme aimed at protecting communities from the effects of climate change.

The Climate Change Adaptation Programme sets out 170 policies and actions to be taken by Holyrood to mitigate the harm caused by storms, flooding and coastal erosion. Picture: PA
The Climate Change Adaptation Programme sets out 170 policies and actions to be taken by Holyrood to mitigate the harm caused by storms, flooding and coastal erosion. Picture: PA

The Climate Change Adaptation Programme sets out 170 policies and actions to be taken by Holyrood to mitigate the harm caused by storms, flooding and coastal erosion.

It is the second of its type to be compiled by the Scottish Government and will run until 2024.

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Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham announced the move on Monday.

She said: "Scotland is a world-leader in climate change mitigation.

"Our emissions have almost halved since 1990 and our contribution to climate change will end completely within a generation.

"But even if global emissions were to stop today, extreme weather and sea level rises would still continue to worsen for decades to come.

"We must expect and plan for threats to food and water supplies, health, biodiversity, transport, businesses, public services and Scotland's iconic historic environment."

She added: "Our adaptation work is internationally recognised and we have made strong progress over the past decade, working collaboratively with public bodies, local authorities and communities to mitigate, adapt and increase our resilience to climate change.

"This new, statutory programme builds stronger links between our mitigation and adaptation work and focuses on tangible outcomes, helping to deliver wider objectives for our society and economy.

"In line with our response to the global climate emergency, it will deliver a step change in securing the benefits of a climate-ready, resilient Scotland for current and future generations."

Francesca Osowska, chief executive of Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), said: "We welcome today's launch of the second Scottish Climate Change Adaption Programme, which sets out a clear plan to keep our communities, businesses and assets resilient and adaptive for the future in the face of climate change.

"Expanding and enhancing our nature is an essential part of the solution to the global climate emergency, and the Dynamic Coast project is one fantastic example, demonstrating how action such as dune restoration and salt marsh expansion can help to improve erosion and flood protection and sequester carbon dioxide.

"Nature-based solutions such as these are crucial to adaptation in all of Scotland's landscapes, whether that is increasing urban green spaces to help communities to be more resilient, creating better habitat for pollinators critical to rural businesses, or restoring rivers and wetlands to reduce flooding."

She added: "There is still time to tackle climate change but it will require an unprecedented effort from all sectors of society.

"We know we have a big task before us but working with our partners we are ready to deliver the transformational change needed to bring a nature rich future for Scotland, part of the urgently needed solution to climate change."

Some of the proposals are aimed at improving the resilience of local communities, ensuring the most vulnerable can adapt to the changing climate and "harnessing the opportunities created by climate change".