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Using a Local Climate Impact Profile (LCLIP) with Aberdeen City Council to assess vulnerability to climate risks

Published: 6th June 2017 6:59Last Updated: 1st September 2017 11:13
Aberdeen city centre market

Introduction

Aberdeen is Scotland's third biggest city. Situated on Scotland's north-east coast, it is a historic city and an international business hub, known as the oil capital of Euorpe and the gateway to the North Sea.

Between 2008 and 2013 Aberdeen City Council was affected by 59 weather-related incidents, ranging from flooding on the roads, fallen trees during stormy weather, to school closures caused by snow and ice. To help improve understanding of these local climate risks, Adaptation Scotland helped the City Council undertake a Local Climate Impacts Profile (LCLIP). This allowed the city to assess its current vulnerability to weather events and examine how it can increase its resilience to future extreme weather events. This case study* explains how this process was completed using a six stage approach. 

*download the full case study from the right-hand column.

What is an LCLIP

A Local Climate Impacts Profile is a tool developed by UKCIP (an organisation set up to help the UK adapt to climate change) to understand how the current weather affects an organisation. The process involves researching past weather events through newspaper archives and interviews with key personnel.

Why carry out an LCLIP?

Working through the LCLIP process raises awareness of the impacts of severe weather events on the Council. In addition, it increases the understanding of where the Council needs to adapt its existing strategies, policies, plans and procedures to meet these changes. The LCLIP process has also helped to inform the Council’s Climate Change Strategic documents which includes an Adaptation Plan.

The LCLIP process

The LCLIP approach is split into six stages and was completed over a 9 month period.

1. Purpose and objectives: Examine recent weather events and the Council’s vulnerability to future extreme weather.

2. Media review: A range of media sources were used to identify severe weather events that affected Aberdeen City, as well as the impact, consequences and response to these events. Media searches were carried out using terms such as extreme weather, heavy rain, snow, storms and flooding. Online resources were also used such as news websites and newspapers on microfiche in local libraries. The collected data was then collated in a spreadsheet that was available from the UKCIP toolkit.

3. Data analysis: The data was analysed to highlight the services most affected by the Council. It also identified who to interview on the subject.

4. Interviews: Staff conducted interviews with officers across the Council in order to gather further information on the impact and consequences of extreme weather on Council services.

5. Write report: Qualitative and quantitative data collated from the media review and interviews were used to write the LCLIP report and develop key recommendations.

6. Promote LCLIP: The report was promoted widely to raise awareness and engage with key stakeholders on climate change adaptation. 

 

Findings

The most frequent severe weather events that occurred between 2008 and 2013 were frost, ice and/or snow followed by rainfall and flooding. Other key issues identified were:

  • Damage of trees and resulting road closures from stormy weather impacting on roads, arbori-cultural services and grounds maintenance.
  • Heavy rain causing flooding, erosion of paths and disruption to grounds maintenance work.
  • School closures during snowy/icy conditions.
  • Clearance of roads, road repairs and availability of ample salt during winters with severe snow and ice affecting the roads team and potentially all Council services through loss of staff time. 
  • Cancellation of events due to snow, wind and torrential rain.
  • Building maintenance during snow, rain and high winds.
  • Waste collection during excessive snow, rain and wind.

Recommendations

Our top learning points and recommendations for those wishing to complete an LCLIP would be to:

  1. Record data better. To investigate developing a system for all services to record extreme weather events and impacts. e.g. Type of event, impacts, service response, complaints, closures, costs and loss of service provision.
  2. Form a climate change adaptation subgroup or similar.
  3. Develop an Adaptation Plan.
  4. Raise awareness of the impacts of severe weather and the need for climate change adaptation throughout the city and sectors.
  5. Share information on climate risk and adaptation strategies between Council services and other public sector organisations to increase knowledge and improve responses.
  6. Review strategies, policies, plans, projects and processes to ensure climate change adaptation is addressed and integrated.
  7. Identify adaptation training needs.

Next steps

Work is now taking place to develop an Adaptation Plan, which will sit alongside a Sustainable Energy Action Plan, to address mitigation and adaptation measures in Aberdeen. These two plans will replace the Council’s Climate Change Action Plan (2002).

Working through the LCLIP process is a starting point to informing future climate change adaptation work and building staff’s understanding of the need to increase our resilience and safeguard our services. 

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