Over the last 50 years Scotland has seen a significant change in climate – to warmer and wetter weather with more extreme weather events. This poses significant risks to our infrastructure. Yet, we do not have a clear strategy for how adapting our road, rail and energy networks, or our urban and rural built environments should be financed.

We can reduce future expenditure, disruption and damage by planning and implementing actions that increase current resilience and allow us to adapt in the future. But climate change adaptation projects, especially those focussing on longer term climate change, are particularly demanding from a financing point of view in terms of quantifying or monetising the benefits of addressing future climate change.

A new report from the University of Leeds looks at how to improve access to finance mechanisms and how to maximise the contribution of adaptation actions to the local economy. The report finds that the mechanisms currently available to finance projects adapting infrastructure to climate change, like government capital grants, user charges, the public works loan board (PWLB), and grant funding, are under pressure both from cuts to public finance and challenges of accessing traditional private finance.

The report also sets out areas that need further research and where government interventions could remove barriers to finance.

ClimateXChange were involved in initiating the research and organised an event for stakeholders to discuss the finding and challenges the report sets out.