New guide presents climate change risk to Scotland's historic sites

08 October 2019
Historic Environment Scotland has today (8 October 2019) published a new guide to help manage the risk of climate change to Scotland's historic sites.

The report is designed to help the country's historic sites adapt to the impacts of climate change and to raise awareness of risks and hazards of these changes.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES), as lead of the Our Place in Time (OPiT) Climate Change Working Group, brought together sector partners to launch the Guide to Climate Change Impacts at Glasgow’s City Chambers.

The seven elements of the historic environment

The guide identifies seven historic environment elements, exploring the hazards that threaten each:

  • Roofed buildings and infrastructure
  • Gardens and designed landscapes
  • Collections and internal fabric
  • Buried remains
  • Surface remains
  • Coastal
  • Marine

The guide is the first of its kind and has been produced collaboratively with partners from across the historic environment sector and beyond, including heritage trusts, tourist bodies, universities and religious organisations, as well as climate change specialists.

A vulnerable environment

Hazel Johnson, OPiT Project Manager for Built Heritage and Climate Change at HES, said: "The rate of change to Scotland’s climate is already having profound impacts across all aspects of society, and poses real concerns for the future.


"Scotland’s historic environment is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, from sites in exposed coastal locations at risk from erosion, to stonework suffering accelerated decay caused by increasing rainfall.


"But our historic places also offer a unique perspective on how humans have adapted to changes in their environment over hundreds and even thousands of years, and they have an important role to play in creating sustainable and resilient communities across the country.


"To achieve this, it’s essential we work together, and we’re pleased that this guide has been the product of real cross-sector collaboration, pooling and sharing experience and expertise from a range of organisations.


"The publication of the Guide to Climate Change Impacts is an important milestone for the historic environment sector in Scotland, and we look forward to seeing its use and development in the future."


Download the guide from the Historic Environment Scotland website.


QUICK LINK: Sir Charles Lyell collection acquired by University of Edinburgh


(image courtesy Historic Environment Scotland)