Members of the public are being asked to give their views on how climate change is currently impacting Scotland.
A newly-launched public consultation is also seeking views on how to protect and restore nature, improve green spaces in local areas and help prepare businesses for both the risks and the opportunities presented by climate change.
The consultation focuses on a draft Scottish National Adaptation Plan 2024-2029 (SNAP3), setting out proposals for managing the current and future impacts of climate change in Scotland. The increasing frequency of extreme weather such as storms, flooding, and heat will have impacts across society, ranging from agricultural production to critical supply chains for vital foods, goods and services.
The draft plan also outlines the potential economic opportunities for Scotland, such as the development of new, innovative products and services which support Scotland’s resilience to climate change. Examples include battery storage, new insurance products and expertise in areas such as heritage restoration.
Responses from the consultation will help shape actions to prepare Scotland for climate change, as well as provide direction for future Government investment.
Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Just Transition, Màiri McAllan, marked the publication of the draft plan at a visit to the Levern Water River Restoration project in East Renfrewshire.
The recently completed adaptation project is already providing multiple benefits to the local community, including lowering the risk of flooding, connecting nature networks to restore habitats and protect wildlife, and providing active travel opportunities for people including for staff and pupils at Carlibar Primary School.
Ms McAllan said, “As we have seen in recent times Scotland is not immune from the impacts of climate change – 2023 was the hottest year on record and storms have battered the country this winter, impacting families, communities and businesses.
“As highlighted in the UK’s Climate Change Committee’s latest assessment report, we are taking notable steps forward on adaptation policy, however planning and preparation is always better than response and recovery. The decisions we make today must stand the test of time.
“Businesses, public sector, the third sector, communities and individuals all stand to benefit from learning more about their exposure to climate change risks and – crucially – how they can respond and what support is available. And just like our work to reduce carbon emissions, adaptation action also needs to be grounded in fairness, equality and seizing economic opportunities.
“I urge everyone to take part in the consultation so we can build a more climate resilient Scotland for future generations.”
East Renfrewshire Council Leader, Owen O’Donnell said, “We are very proud of the recent transformation of the Levern Water – an area which had previously been derelict for decades. A wider, more natural river channel has been restored to the river, encouraging more fish and wildlife and helping to future proof it against flooding and the impact of climate change. It’s been fantastic to see that the new flood plain has successfully held up against the various storms experienced this winter.
“Attractive and accessible greenspace is so important to communities and this project has been able to provide over a hectare of wildflower meadows, woodlands and a riverside path network – connecting schools, shops and the train station.
“Pupils from Carlibar Primary have been doing a great job in helping to monitor the ongoing health and biodiversity of the Levern Water with support from the Clyde River Foundation, even rearing trout in their classrooms to be released into the river in spring.”
Nicole Paterson, Chief Executive of SEPA, said, “As Scotland’s Environment Protection Agency, we’re on the front line of global action to tackle our climate and nature emergencies. Through innovation and collaboration, we aim to help build a stronger, fairer and more sustainable nation.
“Projects like the Levern Water restoration underscore that effort, and stand as a testament to the positive outcomes that can be achieved through working together on regenerative initiatives.
“The adaption plan is crucial to future success, and with early engagement, we ensure that our decisions today pave the way for a Scotland that’s not just ready for change, but thrives in the midst of it.”