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HES initiative to combat effects of climate change on historic sites

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) is leading an international initiative to support communities across Northern Europe in assessing the impact of climate change on historic buildings, archaeological sites and other heritage locations.
Adapt Norther Heritage brings together 15 partners from Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Russia, Scotland and Sweden. The three year project – which started this month – aims to help communities adapt their historic sites to climate change and increase their resilience to its impacts.
As part of the project, HES is working with three project partners: Minjastofnun Íslands (Cultural Heritage Agency of Iceland), Riksantikvaren (Norway’s Directorate for Cultural Heritage) and Norsk institutt for kulturminneforskning (Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research). HES will also engage with eleven associated partners, including Argyll & Bute Council, the National Trust for Scotland and Timespan – Helmsdale Heritage & Arts Society.
To support communities in Europe’s remote northern regions, the project will develop an online tool to assess the climate related risks affecting historic places, and provide guidance for the planning of strategic adaptation measures to limit and manage these risks. The tool will be developed, tested and demonstrated in ten case studies across Northern Europe, two of which will be in Scotland: the historic town of Inverary in Argyll and Bute and Threave Castle and Estate in Dumfries and Galloway. The project will also create a community network with a discussion platform, round table workshops and training events.
  • The project is funded by Iceland, Norway and the European , through Interreg NPA, and by the four project partners and will seek to engage closely with other active projects, including CHERISH, an Irish-Welsh project on Climate Change and Coastal Heritage, with CINE and C.L.I.M.A.T.E., Interreg NPA projects respectively on innovative heritage presentation and climate change impacts on the built environment.
  • The Interreg programme for the Northern Periphery and Arctic (Interreg NPA) is a cooperation between 9 countries and supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) of the European (EU) and ERDF equivalent funding from non EU partner countries.
  • Climate change will have a severe impact on Europe’s northern regions, endangering many historic places of uniqueness and importance, which help sustain local communities through heritage tourism.
  • “Climate change will have a direct effect on heritage sites, through physical impact to the environment that will change the conservation conditions for the materials of the site. We have only seen the beginning of the physical change”, notes the 2010 report Climate Change and Cultural Heritage in the Nordic Countries. Action is urgently needed to prevent or at least minimise accelerated deterioration and loss of historic places in the northern European regions
  • After a formal project launch on 1st June 2017, Scottish and Norwegian project partners presented at the 3rd European Climate Change Adaptation Conference (ECCA 2017) in Glasgow in a session on 8th June, organised by HES to specifically focus on the impacts of climate change on historic places. The partners also used the conference for a joint meeting with C.L.I.M.A.T.E., another Interreg NPA project, led by Derry City & Strabane District Council and running in parallel to Adapt Northern Heritage.
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