Written evidence submitted by the Scottish Government


  1. This submission sets out what action the Scottish Government is taking to adapt to climate change and how we support Critical National Infrastructure. It includes details on the Scottish Climate Change Adaption Programme 2019-2024 (SCCAP2) as well as highlighting climate change specific guidance from Keeping Scotland Running - the Scottish Government Resilient Essential Services Framework, published in 2020, which is a refresh of our strategic approach to Critical Infrastructure Resilience.


Domestic climate change adaptation


  1. Climate change is a devolved matter, and Scotland has its own statutory framework for planning for climate change adaptation, set out in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.


  1. The Scottish Government’s current approach to building resilience to the future impacts of climate change is set out in the statutory Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme 2019-2024 (SCCAP2). The Programme includes around 170 policies and proposals across Scotland, within a framework of seven high-level outcomes aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


  1. One of the high-level outcomes of SCCAP2 is that “society’s supporting systems are resilient to climate change”. Examples of Scottish Government policies under this outcome include: the reflection of climate resilience considerations within our Infrastructure Investment Plan (which extends its definition of infrastructure to include natural systems); Stakeholder Impact Assessments for CNI operators (see Stakeholder Impact Assessment in the Annex); and a Climate Hazards and Vulnerabilities Risk Screening Tool for Healthcare Assets.


  1. This outcome of SCCAP2 also recognises the interconnection between devolved and reserved responsibilities in relation to infrastructure matters. Infrastructure systems do not operate in isolation and having interconnected sectors increases the risk of cascading infrastructure failures from climate impacts. For example, energy supply underpins water and wastewater treatment systems, IT infrastructure, and signalling for roads and rail. Infrastructure assets, such as bridges, may support cables and pipes carrying energy and water.


  1. Information on progress to delivery of the SCCAP2 Programme is available in the second annual progress report to the Scottish Parliament (published May 2021).


  1. Alongside continuing to deliver SCCAP2, we are also now beginning the process of developing Scotland’s next statutory climate change adaptation programme, in response to the Climate Change Committee (CCC)’s updated independent assessment of UK climate risk (published in June 2021). The administrations for all four UK nations have formally accepted this assessment in full through the statutory UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (published January 2022), which also recognises the very significant shared challenges and opportunities across the UK nations around adaptation and resilience.


  1. We expect to publish Scotland’s next adaptation programme in 2024, but will also be looking at options for an early response in the highest priority risk areas identified by the CCC.


Keeping Scotland Running


  1. In 2020 the Scottish Government published the ‘Keeping Scotland Running’ Guidance Suite, which seeks to support the delivery of Scotland’s Critical Infrastructure Resilience (CIR) Strategy. It provides operational guidance and advice for Policy Leads, Responders and Operators on key issues identified during consultation with key Critical Infrastructure Resilience (CIR) stakeholders in Scotland, the UK and abroad.


  1. The Guidance Suite comprises seven separate guidance documents designed to equip and enable CIR stakeholders to work together in order to build resilience across the critical infrastructure sectors in Scotland. Two of these guides (Guides 5 and 6) specifically look at Building Resilience to Natural Hazards and Building Resilience to Climate Change (Adaption). Overviews of these two guides can be found in the Annex, and the full Keeping Scotland Running Framework can be found at:

Stakeholder Impact Assessment (SIA)
  1. The Stakeholder Impact Assessment (SIA) is part of ‘Keeping Scotland Running’ which provides answers to the four key questions used to assist in the risk assessment process on which the Sector Security & Resilience Assessment (SSRA) and the Sector Improvement Report (SIR) are based. The four key questions are:


  1. The SIA provides an overview of individual key companies and organisations that make up each sector, their rationale for criticality, their identified vulnerabilities and describes mitigation, protection and contingencies in place to tackle vulnerabilities.  The SIA will be completed with each of the sectors key stakeholders using a standardised template and guidance. The template includes information on the following:
  1. Given the sensitivities associated with a detailed analysis of the criticality and vulnerabilities associated with assets/systems, the SIA will be jointly owned by the operator/owner and Scottish Government and protectively marked as Official – Sensitive - Commercial. The SIA will be shared (subject to appropriate information security arrangements) with relevant Scottish Government and UK Government departments and the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI). In addition, the SIAs will be made available to the relevant Scottish Government Minister if requested.


  1. Scottish Government officials refresh Stakeholder Impact Assessments with CNI and Essential Services operators biannually however, unfortunately due to Covid restrictions, this work has been severely curtailed over the last two years.

10 February 2022




Keeping Scotland Running Guides


Guide 5: Building Resilience to Natural Hazards



This guide seeks to:


This guide is aimed at:


Infrastructure can be damaged or disrupted by a variety of natural hazards e.g. severe weather, flooding etc. and it is necessary that the operators of Scotland’s national and local infrastructure have adequately planned and prepared for such disruptions. A risk-based approach to such planning and preparation will help organisations understand their vulnerabilities to natural hazards and take appropriate measures.



Building the resilience of infrastructure to natural hazards should:

Guide 6: Building Resilience to a Changing Climate (Adaptation)



This guide seeks to:


This guide is aimed at:


We are already seeing evidence of Scotland’s climate changing. Over the last few decades our climate has warmed, sea-levels have risen, rainfall patterns have changed and we have been impacted by extreme weather events.


Climate projections for the next century indicate that the climate trends observed over the last century will continue and intensify over the coming decades. We can expect future changes in climate to be far greater than anything we have seen in the past.

These changes pose serious risks for infrastructure. Legislative duties are now also in force requiring major public bodies, including many infrastructure operators, to exercise their functions in a way best calculated to deliver the Statutory Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme and, report progress annually as part of Public Bodies Duties Mandatory Reporting. Critical infrastructure operators in the private sector are equally at risk and should build climate change adaptation into their resilience planning and risk management strategies.


To avoid longer-term impacts on people and the economy, it is essential that investments in new infrastructure, as well as the adaptation of existing infrastructure, are considered in the context of climate change risks and impacts.

There is still considerable uncertainty about the nature and extent of future climate change. Adaptation of infrastructure will therefore need to be flexible in order to cope with a wide range of possible changes. This will involve a combination of measures that include24:

24 The Adaptation Principles set out above are taken from Dawson RJ (ed.) (2015) A Climate Change Report Card for Infrastructure. LWEC Report Card. Living With Environmental Change. ISBN 978-0-9928679-4-2 copyright © Living With Environmental Change