Glasgow’s weather and climate patterns are shifting as a direct result of climate change, with the planet getting hotter1.
The council’s new Climate Adaptation Plan 2022-2030 (agreed today 22, June 2020) focuses on the local impacts of global temperature increases, what they mean for the city and how, with other partners, we plan to respond to them now and in the future.
Citizens will have noticed, and possibly experienced, the consequences of milder and wetter winters, hotter summers, and frequent, heavier, downpours, in recent years.
The heatwave of 2018 saw a record temperature of 31.9 degrees celsius in the city and caused the roof of the Glasgow Science Centre to melt. Local flooding experienced, ironically, shortly before the start of COP26 climate change conference, in November 2020, caused by intense rainfall, triggered travel disruption and journey delays.
This trend in variable and extreme weather patterns is predicted to worsen due harmful emissions already locked into the atmosphere and, globally, the relatively slow action to curb further emissions being released.
Therefore, cities, like Glasgow, must develop plans and undertake interventions to adjust to the effects of climate events such as overheating, and flooding being felt now and prepare for future changes, in parallel with plans to accelerate reductions in emissions.
Councillor Angus Millar, climate convenor, said; “Combatting the climate emergency is not only about reducing the harmful emissions being released into the atmosphere, but also about dealing with the impacts of climate change that are already being experienced. Cities like Glasgow will not be immune to the impacts of warmer and wetter weather and our Climate Adaptation Plan is all about ensuring we are prepared.
“Climate change has a knock-on impact on just about every aspect of our daily lives, from the cost of living via higher food, fuel and energy prices, to health impacts such as air quality.
“This plan is a comprehensive approach towards adaptation action needed to ensure the city and our businesses and residents can cope with current impacts and embed these policies and practices to future proof against projected climate impacts.”
The climate adaptation plan considers climate hazards, exposure levels and our local vulnerability to them.
Interventions and solutions include working with other organisations on a range of actions around city development, housing and transportation as well as considering more nature-based solutions such as tree planting, green roofs and raingardens, to meet the challenges we face.
The plan includes helping more people to understand the direct and sometimes unseen indirect local impacts of climate change and what is needed to protect Glasgow from further harm. It also looks at learning from cities facing similar challenges and their responses, incentivising retro fitting solutions on older buildings, surface water management, and introducing natural cooling solutions.
It will assess risk and vulnerabilities on city’s existing buildings and push for action within the City Development Plan to mandate green roofs for new or retrofit buildings over a certain size threshold and require developers to include adaptation designs within projects like green roof/walls and rainwater collectors and promote the use of permeable surfaces.
A key focus with also be to work with transport partners to better prepare for extreme weather events to minimise the disruption for those using public transport.
The adaptation plan dovetails with the Glasgow Climate Plan whose overall aim is to forge a path for the city to become a net zero carbon by 2030.
One such community already reaping the benefits of a project to reduce incidences of flooding and creating new areas for both school children and the community to enjoy is in the Kings Park and Croftfoot areas, in the south east of the city.
The South East Glasgow Surface Water Management Plan, delivered by the council, has introduced a range of measures including flood basins, raingardens and new woodlands to capture, slow down and manage surface water runoff during extreme rainfall and mitigate the heat island effect of urban areas.
New outdoor learning and play spaces have been designed to help manage flooding. The amphitheatre in the playground provides above ground flood storage during severe weather and a multi-use games area (MUGA) for the children of Croftfoot Primary School sits atop an underground flood storage tank.
Martine Leitch, headteacher at Croftfoot primary, said; “We are delighted to now have adaptable spaces for outdoor learning and physical education and can facilitate a wide variety of curricular and extra-curricular activities within our own grounds. The children now also have a sense of pride around our outdoor spaces and appreciate the opportunities that these afford.”
The new community woodlands around the area also promote conservation, boost biodiversity and have paths to encourage active travel and exercise and spaces for people to enjoy.
A local resident, who has lived in the area for 27 years, knows only too well the problems that heavy rainfall can have. She experienced it in her place of work, as well as affecting her home. She said, “It was terrible. We used to dread any significant rainfall as the water poured down from the old golf course at the back of our house and poured down the hill at the front. It was like being surrounded by a moat and caused property damage to houses and businesses.
“It’s been such a relief to have this drainage work done and it is doing its job as we’ve had no more flooding problems. Plus, the new woodland area and path is very well used by people – dog walkers and joggers. The area around the flood basins has also encouraged more wildlife and forms part of the Magnificent 11, a circular walk of 11 miles linking seven greenspace habitats on Glasgow’s Southside.”
The full report can be round here https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/councillorsandcommittees/submissiondocuments.asp?submissionid=104894