The Scottish weather can cause significant problems for homes, businesses and travel. These problems are predicted to get worse as the climate changes, with wilder and wetter weather, more flooding and landslides, but also heatwaves and drought. The businesses and public services we depend on in daily life need to work together to avoid these negative impacts on health and well-being, the economy and our natural environment.

Adapting homes, communities, workplaces and our infrastructure presents a great opportunity to improve where we live and work: For example, homes can be refurbished to be more energy efficient and less prone to condensation, overheating or flooding, reducing costs and increasing health and well-being. Land use is another example where reducing emissions and managing climate impacts can be achieved through the same interventions, for example reducing flood risk and increasing carbon storage through well-managed peatland and forests.

How do we assess and consider the risks and opportunities from climate change as we develop the places we live and work?

  1. Flood risk management
  2. Community resilience
  3. Buildings and infrastructure

 

Read the Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme

Read more about the climate projections for Scotland

Climate ready places visuals

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Images from the Climate ready Places tool showing a range of adapting places.

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Flood risk management

Increased frequency and severity of flooding is a key impact of climate change. Reducing flood risk is therefore a key commitment for the Scottish Government.

Risk of flooding

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SEPA infographic: Risk of flooding projected increase 2018- 2080: railway km from 500 to 700, protected environmental areas from 2500k to 3600k, community facilities from 2000 to 2400, agricultural land from 200k to 230k, utilities from 1300 to 1700, road from 2000km to 3000km, homes businesses and services from 284k to 394k.

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Source: National Flood Risk Assessment

The Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009 introduced a more sustainable and modern approach to flood risk management that is better suited to current needs and can accommodate the impacts of climate change.

Read the Living with Flooding action plan

Read the Water-resilient Places policy framework

Read more about SEPA's work on flooding

Community resilience

Resilient communities are able to respond to and recover from extreme weather and emergencies. Building resilience depends on planning – both in the physical infrastructure and delivery of emergency and health services.

National and local governments, emergency services, road and rail authorities, individual businesses and the public all have their role to play. 

Explore the Climate Ready Places tool:

Climate ready places

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Images from the Climate ready Places tool showing a range of adapting places.

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Buildings and infrastructure

Our buildings, and transport and utilities infrastructure are vital elements in a modern society and economy. Disruption in one location can have significant knock-on effect across a much wider area.

How we plan, build and manage our infrastructure impacts on both greenhouse gas emissions and our ability to reduce and manage the negative impacts of a changing climate. The Scottish Government’s draft Infrastructure Investment Plan sets out three strategic themes:

  • Enabling the transition to net zero emissions and environmental sustainability
  • Driving inclusive economic growth
  • Building resilient and sustainable places

These aims are echoed in the position Scottish Government’s Position Statement for the National Planning Framework 4 which sets out an approach to increase active travel and green infrastructure, using the infrastructure we have for longer rather than building new, and how to stimulate planning and design approaches that create low carbon resilient places.

Read A National Mission with Local Impact - draft infrastructure investment plan 2021‑2022 to 2025‑2026: consultation

Read the Scottish Government’s Position Statement for the National Planning Framework 4 

In a global context, Scotland is not experiencing the most severe impacts of climate change. However, the Scottish Government has been at the forefront of adaptation planning, producing one of the first national climate change adaptation plans.

This gives us a good starting point for planning action and tracking how well we are adapting.

  1. Flooding and water management
  2. Risk assessment, monitoring and evaluation
  3. Land use and infrastructure
Flooding and water management

Flooding is already a problem in both rural and urban areas. Research can help both planning how we deal with future flooding, and how we plan, build and manage our land to reduce the impact of flooding.

Featured projects

On issues relating to flooding and flood risk we work closely with CREW - Scotland's Centre of Expertise on Water.

Read about CREW

Risk assessment, monitoring and evaluation

Adaptation is a long term challenge.

We support the Scottish Government to assess the risks from the impacts of climate change across society and the effectiveness of our efforts to adapt.

Featured projects
Land use and infrastructure

We look for practical solution that deliver carbon savings and contribute to climate resilience.

Featured projects