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The Effect on the Historic Environment

Coastal erosion
It is predicted that Scotland will become warmer and wetter and there will be an increase in annual rainfall of between 5 to 20 percent by the end of the next century.

Our archaeology and coastal landscapes are vulnerable to coastal erosion, rises in sea level, flooding and storminess.  Some of Scotland’s unique and special sites such as Skara Brae in Orkney are most at risk.  

More rainfall will mean that traditional buildings will be wetter for longer periods of time resulting in increased weathering of stone, algal and fungal growth and corrosion of metals.  It will be vitally important that buildings are well maintained and managed to ensure that they can withstand increased rainfall and weathering.      

All measures to improve energy efficiency in traditional buildings should be considered carefully with thought given to the carbon footprint, longevity and sustainability of existing and replacement materials.

In improving  energy efficiency it is important to avoid damaging effects on traditional buildings. For example, reducing air leakage in buildings to prevent heat loss might result in condensation and mould growth, with damaging effects on the building fabric and the health of those living there.   


Effects on the Historic Environment:

Threats and Impacts
The impacts of climate change on the historic environment are wide ranging and potentially devastating. Rising sea levels and increased storm events endanger historic landscapes, structures, buildings and archaeology. More frequent intense rainfall events will cause flooding and erosion to our most treasured historic buildings and heritage sites. Impacts to historic buildings of these weather changes include water penetration into masonry, increased risk of dampness, condensation, accelerated mould growth and, at worst, structural collapse.

Weather predictions
Since the 1960s average precipitation has increased by over 20% and in northern Scotland winter precipitation has increased by over 70%. Left unchecked these changes are predicted to continue and intensify through the present century, accelerating damaging impacts on Scotland’s environment and infrastructure, with significant consequences for economy and society.

Effect on landscapes
Our archaeology and coastal landscapes are vulnerable to coastal erosion, rises in sea level, flooding and storminess.  Some of Scotland’s unique and special sites such as Skara Brae in Orkney are most at risk.  

Effect on traditional buildings
More rainfall will mean that traditional buildings will be wetter for longer periods of time resulting in increased weathering of stone, algal and fungal growth and corrosion of metals.  It will be vitally important that buildings are well maintained and managed to ensure that they can withstand increased rainfall and weathering.      



Contact us

Historic Scotland Conservation Group
Longmore House
Salisbury Place
Edinburgh
EH9 1SH
Tel: 0131 668 8577