Climate change

Highland adapts to climate change

We are working over the summer to develop an outline business case for a Highland climate change adaptation initiative.

Scotland’s changing climate

Our climate is already changing. There is a long-term trend of warming temperatures, shifting rainfall patterns and rising sea level. We have experienced this as highly variable weather – hot, cold, wet and dry – that has proved hugely challenging in recent years.

The impacts of climate change have been felt across the Highlands, from damage to infrastructure, to disruption of vital services, and a shift in growing seasons. Work in the Highlands to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will contribute to limiting the extent of future climate change but we cannot turn back the clock. Past and present day emissions mean that the rate of climate change is set to intensify over the coming decades and we need to adapt now.

More information about Scotland’s changing climate

Highland Climate Change Adaptation Initiative

There are good examples of adaptation  in the Highlands. This includes organisations completing climate change risk assessments for services, assets and locations. Although progress is being made, there are many missed opportunities where climate impacts are not being factored into decision making. Left unchecked this will result in increased risks and costs.

We are working with our Community Planning Partners and have identified that there may be significant benefits to establishing a Highland Climate Change Adaptation Initiative to coordinate and deliver a joined up approach to climate change adaptation for the Highlands. During summer 2019, The Highland Council and Community Planning Partners will work together with the Adaptation Scotland programme to develop an Outline Business Case (OBC) for a Highlands Adapts initiative. The OBC will establish whether there is a case for such an initiative to be set up and will be used to inform decision making by The Highland Council and Community Planning Partners. The OBC will be developed in consultation with Highland organisations, businesses and communities. It will also draw on learning from similar regional approaches to adaptation being taken in other areas of Scotland and Europe.

Developing the Outline Business Case

The case will be developed using the Five Case Model included in the HM Treasury Green Book. Feedback will be sought on preferred models for partnership working as well as the strategic, economic, financial, commercial and management case for a Highland Adapts initiative.

Surveys will also be used to collate feedback from a wide range of organisations, businesses and communities.

Interviews will also be held with community planning partners and other businesses and organisations that have a major influence and legal responsibilities to manage climate risks in the Highlands. Please contact us to request an interview.


  • Deadline for submitting survey responses: 6 September 2019
  • Deadline for requesting an interview: 19 August 2019
  • Outline Business Case complete: October 2019


For more information, contact Keith Masson -