While COVID-19 has necessarily been a focus of attention over the last year, we are still facing an emergency that threatened our lives before coronavirus: the climate crisis. The climate crisis is an issue that has rapidly come to the top of the national agenda for Scotland – so much so that three of our National Outcomes refer to it directly as a priority.
Our heritage and its built environment are facing serious risks as the climate emergency continues to grow. As part of our Climate Crisis Response, we release a regular round-up of newly released climate crisis resources for heritage. In the last few months, the following climate heritage resources have been released or updated:
- The Heritage Fund has updated its environmental sustainability guidance, which provides advice on how to consider environmental impact when designing projects.
- A number of leading heritage bodies in England and some who work across the UK have signed up to a Joint Heritage Sector Statement on Climate Change. The statement, which recognises the impact of climate change and makes a number of commitments to mitigate its impacts, has been signed up to by the Architectural Heritage Fund, Churches Conservation Trust, English Heritage Trust, Historic England, Historic Houses, National Lottery Heritage Fund, National Trust and the Heritage Alliance.
- UNESCO carried out an online consultation concerning the updating of the “Policy Document on the Impacts of Climate Change on World Heritage properties” from 30 December 2019 to 31 January 2020. Draft updates to the policy will also be presented at World Heritage Committee at its extended 44th session in June/July 2021.
- The IUCN World Heritage Outlook 3, published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, builds on previous reports from 2014 and 2017 to track whether the conservation of the world’s 252 natural World Heritage sites is sufficient to protect them in the long term. It finds that climate change has overtaken invasive species as the top threat to natural World Heritage.
- Resilient Reefs introduced its inclusive approach to climate adaptation at the UNFCCC Ocean and Climate Change Dialogue in December 2020. The Resilient Reefs Initiative is a new approach to marine conservation being piloted across five UNESCO-listed World Heritage sites, and backed by a global private-public consortium.
- Historic England published a technical advice note on energy efficiency in historic homes. The advice note considers energy efficiency improvements to those traditional homes which are described as heritage assets within the planning system. It can be downloaded here: https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/publications/energy-efficiency-and-traditional-homes-advice-note-14
Hopefully these resources will provide some inspiration for your organisation to start tackling the climate crisis. Please feel free to use our Climate Crisis Response and adapt our policies and procedures as you see fit, and as always if you’d like to discuss your ideas with us, please feel free to get in touch!
Image: Angelika S., Auchmuty High School, 2019 My Place Photography Competition Entrant