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New chief for Highland's climate change project

By Tom Ramage

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The Highland Adapts initiative, which aims to develop a region-based, partnership approach to climate change adaptation, has announced the appointment of Emma Whitham as principal project manager.

"Highland Adapts will pioneer a fair, inclusive and integrated approach to adapting to climate change," says the new chief.

Emma Whitham
Emma Whitham

"The initiative will seek to involve communities in all aspects of its work, recognising there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to climate action."

The initiative will also work proactively to ensure that disadvantaged and underrepresented groups are involved and benefit equally.

The impacts of climate change have already been felt across Highland: from damage to infrastructure, to disruption of vital services, and a shift in growing seasons.

Work in Highland to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will contribute to limiting the extent of future climate change but we cannot turn back the clock. Past and present-day emissions mean that the rate of climate change is set to intensify over the coming decades, and it is recognised that we need to develop plans for how we are going to adapt now.

Ms Whitham brings a wealth of experience and a passion for climate action to this role, having established both MOO Food as well as the Highland Good Food Partnership amongst many other initiatives over the past few years.

She said: “I’m thrilled and excited to be taking the lead on this transformational initiative, which is going to deliver real and positive change for Highland.

"It’s really important to both myself and the Highland Adapts partnership that our response to climate change is fundamentally driven by the needs and aspirations of our communities, and we’ll be taking the initiative forward firmly on that basis.”

Cllr Trish Robertson, chair of the council’s economy and infrastructure committee and climate change working group said: “The council recognises the important role that Highland Adapts will play in better understanding the opportunities and risks that climate change will present whilst also helping to establish a climate-ready region, and we are delighted that Emma will be driving this forward on behalf of the partnership.”

Cllr Trish Robertson
Cllr Trish Robertson

Anna Beswick, Adaptation Scotland programme manager said, “Taking action to adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change will bring huge benefits to communities across the Highlands. I am delighted that Emma is now in post to drive forward this important work and we look forward to working together in the years ahead”.

The formal Highland Adapts Partnership is currently comprised of the following partners:

The Highland Council - https://www.highland.gov.uk/

Changeworks - https://www.changeworks.org.uk/

Forestry & land Scotland - https://forestryandland.gov.scot/

Highlands & Islands Enterprise - https://www.hie.co.uk/

NHS Highland - https://www.nhshighland.scot.nhs.uk/Pages/welcome.aspx

NatureScot - https://www.nature.scot/

Zero Waste Scotland - https://www.zerowastescotland.org.uk/

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