Mairi Davies (Historic Environment Scotland)

Resistance, adaptation, acceptance: managing climate change risk to cultural heritage in Scotland

As a large public body, Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has duties under the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 that require it to contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation, and to act sustainably. The UK Climate Change Risk Assessment identifies a range of risks and opportunities that climate change may present. Our approach to climate change impacts, risk and adaptation of the historic environment has been shaped by working in partnership with other organisations. By working collaboratively, we have been able to ensure the historic environment is fully considered in pioneering projects such as Dynamic Coast: Scotland’s Coastal Change Assessment, which includes a case study on the Bay of Skaill, site of Skara Brae, part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site. On the HES Estate, we have collaborated with partners to collate datasets detailing current risk from natural hazards such as flooding and coastal erosion and have used these as indicators of susceptibility to climate change. This informs development, conservation and maintenance, increasing the inherent resilience of our estate to cope with the changing climate, helping to safeguard it for future generations.