The guidance is designed to help Scottish public sector organisations comply with the duties contained in Scotland’s draft Climate Change Adaptation Programme, which was discussed by the Scottish Parliament last week. The Programme sets out Scottish Minister’s objectives, plans and policies for adapting to climate change. The final programme will require all public bodies to conduct their business in a way that will help deliver the Programme, as per the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.
The guidance asks public bodies to consider how climate change could help or hinder existing corporate strategies and visions using two questions:
How might core services be affected by severe weather and climate change? Users identify which of their organisation’s core services such as housing maintenance, school transport, refuse collection and services for older people are already – and could continue to be – affected by severe weather and climate change.
How can we increase resilience, enhance efficiency, add value and save money? Users then identify actions that are needed to protect these services now and in the future.
Those using the guidance will be making a commitment to take future climate impacts seriously; and ensuring that this commitment is at the heart of day-to-day decisions and investments.
Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “Climate change is one of the most serious challenges to global society and the natural environment both at home and abroad. Acknowledging the impact of climate change is therefore important to minimise economic and environmental impacts, but also to ensure we maximise the opportunities arising from the transition to a low carbon economy and adapt to our changing climate.
“Local authorities and other public bodies, businesses, voluntary organisations and communities will be central in helping Scotland to build resilience to the impacts of climate change. Clear advice and guidance is essential in supporting sectors right across society to better understand their role in addressing climate change and adapting to it.
” This new guidance will aid the wider public sector in complying with the Climate Change Public Bodies Duties and helping to deliver the forthcoming Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme, to ensure Scotland remains resilient in the face of the challenge.”
Cllr Stephen Hagan, COSLA Spokesperson for Development, Economy and Sustainability said: “It is important to address climate risks and safeguard communities now and in years to come. I welcome the publication of this guidance which, if applied across councils and their public sector partners, could enable increased efficiency, added value and identification of cost-saving opportunities.”
‘Five steps to managing your climate risks’ was developed by Adaptation Scotland in collaboration with Scottish Borders Council, West Lothian Council, Falkirk Council, Stirling Council, Aberdeenshire Council, City of Edinburgh Council, Perth and Kinross Council, Health Facilities Scotland, Scottish Government, Sustainable Scotland Network and SEPA.
The public sector guidance is complemented by a similar climate risk management plan template for Scottish businesses.