CRA was commissioned following the findings and recommendations from the 2019 Local Climate Impact Profile (LCLIP) report. One of the recommendations within this is the requirement for a regional climate change adaptation strategy, which led to Climate Ready Aberdeenshire.
Climate Ready Aberdeenshire’s aim is a shared vision, strategy and action plan for Aberdeenshire to mitigate climate change and adapt to its impact while protecting our biodiversity. Our objectives are: 1. to increase the understanding and awareness of climate change risks and opportunities within Aberdeenshire; 2. to work with communities using a place-based approach to discover what their priorities are and how they can be supported to mitigate and adapt to climate change; 3. to support decision-makers to make climate friendly and climate ready decisions which support the delivery of local and national commitments and mutually benefit Aberdeenshire’s environment, economy and people; and 4. to provide knowledge, advice and support and link businesses, community groups and individuals to resources, projects and funding opportunities to help them mitigate and adapt to climate change.
The project is governed by a steering group consisting of senior representatives from organisations throughout the North East of Scotland. The group is led by a volunteer Chair and Vice-chair on a 3 year term and supported by a Project Lead who is provided by the project’s sponsor, Aberdeenshire Council. The project is currently accountable to Aberdeenshire Council’s Sustainability Committee. The steering group consists of members from the following organisations: Aberdeenshire Council, Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, Cairngorms National Park, Grampian Housing Association, Historic Environment Scotland, The James Hutton Institute, Nature Scot, Nestrans, Oil and Gas UK, Robert Gordon University, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Water, SEPA, University of Aberdeen and Visit Aberdeenshire.
It took approximately 6 months to identify and set up the steering group, vision and aims of the project. This was longer than planned due to COVID restrictions.
CRA is ongoing. Our priorities for the remainder of 2021 are to develop the structure and content of the CRA strategy, pilot the aims of CRA within a smaller location using the Place Standard Tool through a Climate Lens, in this case Climate Ready Strathdon and support our working groups who will contribute to the strategy and identify actions. These actions will be short term ones which can be competed while the CRA strategy is developed and long-term actions which will help form the CRA action plan.
Climate Ready Aberdeenshire (CRA) was inspired and commissioned following the findings and recommendations from Aberdeenshire Council’s 2019 Local Climate Impact Profile (LCLIP) report. This report, our Climate Change Risk Register and resources from Adaptation Scotland are the resources we found most useful. Before starting we hosted two engagement events and invited private, public and 3rd sector climate change and sustainability partners, including those identified in the 2019 LCLIP. Potential steering group members, the vision and potential aims were identified through these events. The vision, objectives and CRA route were then finalised by the steering group.
We continue to engage with local communities and organisations through engagement events (virtual and physical where possible), social media (LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube), our website and involvement in our working groups.
The biggest challenges in the running and setting up was identifying the appropriate partners, encouraging them to be involved and the time constraints our members face. Apart from the Project Lead, all CRA steering group members are volunteers. We have overcome this barrier by ensuring that all members know what CRA is aiming to achieve, what is expected from them as members and how CRA can mutually benefit their organisation and aims. COVID 19 restrictions posed an unexpected challenge which made the process of stakeholder engagement slower than planned. CRA has no funding or resource, other than 0.5WTE Project Lead provided by Aberdeenshire Council.
What we would have done differently is have a clear vision, aims and terms of reference in place before the steering group was formed as this took up a lot of the group’s time and slowed down their decision making.