Climate change action plan unveiled in Edinburgh

A plan to improve Edinburgh’s resilience to climate change was launched today (Thursday, 1 December).

Lesley Hinds, Roseanna Cunningham and Abbeyhill Primary pupils

Edinburgh Adapts 2016-2020 is the city’s first climate change action plan, and aims to help the city prepare for and adapt to the effects of a changing climate.

The plan has been developed by the Edinburgh Sustainable Development Partnership in collaboration with Adaptation Scotland and more than 40 key stakeholders from across the city. It was unveiled on Thursday by Councillor Lesley Hinds, Chair of the Edinburgh Sustainable Development Partnership, and Ruth Monfries, Chair of the Edinburgh Adapts Steering Group, along with Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, Chair of the Edinburgh Sustainable Development Partnership, said: “While we’re making every effort to address the causes of climate change, we can’t avoid the fact that its impacts are already affecting us.

“By working with partners to produce Edinburgh Adapts, we are able to better understand the effects a changing climate will have, enabling us to become both a resilient city and a greener, safer and healthier place to live.”

Climate Change Secretary, Roseanna Cunningham, said: “Tackling the effects of climate change is crucial as the challenges of increasingly unpredictable weather and extreme conditions are only likely to increase if we don’t take action now.
 
“That’s why I’m delighted to welcome Edinburgh’s first Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan which is ambitious but achievable with the medium to long-term vision of Edinburgh Adapts telling the story of Edinburgh’s adaptation journey to 2050. It provides us with an illustration of what we could do to make us more resilient to the impacts of climate change when public and private stakeholders, the third sector and community groups work together.  
 
“Scotland has set an example to the world by exceeding its ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets six years early, but we cannot be complacent and must work with a wide range of partners to build on the strong progress we have made and be ready to deal with the impacts of climate change we know are coming.”

Ruth Monfries, Chair of the Edinburgh Adapts Steering Group, added: “Raising awareness of the impacts of climate change and sharing knowledge can help us better manage the risks and realise the opportunities in being well prepared - to help us ensure that a climate ready Edinburgh remains a great place to live, work and visit. 

“Organisations across the city are working together to help Edinburgh meet the challenges of a changing climate. The first Edinburgh Adapts action plan sets out the initial steps towards achieving our vision. The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and partners on the steering group are collaborating on actions to make this happen.”

Edinburgh Adapts builds on the Resilient Edinburgh Climate Change Adaptation Framework, which was approved by the City of Edinburgh Council’s Transport and Environment Committee in 2014, and provides a platform for bringing together adaptation activity from across the city.

In line with the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, actions aim to respond to climate changes which, if current trends continue as projected, will result in warmer, drier summers and milder, wetter winters.

As well as ensuring overall governance of adaptation in the city, the plan aims to protect and enhance Edinburgh’s wildlife and green spaces, providing nature-based solutions to climate-related problems. Planning and development play a key role in ensuring the city adapts, including the use of green infrastructure to offset predicted changes in weather and rainfall and naturalising flood prevention measures when feasible. Actions involving working with communities and raising awareness of the impacts of climate change on local areas are also integral to the plan.

Its progress will be overseen by a steering group including representatives from the Council, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Edinburgh Living Landscapes, The University of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh College, Historic Environment Scotland, Edinburgh World Heritage and Adaptation Scotland. 

In conjunction with Edinburgh Adapts, Our Vision for a Climate Ready Edinburgh has been developed by partners which, aims to tell the story of Edinburgh’s adaptation journey, first in 2025 and then in 2050.

Find out more about Edinburgh Adapts online.

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