Climate Change in West Lothian

We are already feeling the effects of climate change in Scotland, with rising temperatures and more frequent storms impacting on many aspects of society, including health, agriculture, buildings, water resources and energy demands.

Camilty Wildfire

Wildfires will increase with soaring temperatures. This fire in August 2022 at Camilty near West Calder blazed for days requiring 12 fire engines and helicopter to put it out.

Our past and present emissions have already determined much of the change over the next 30 - 40 years. Scotland will be increasingly affected by climate change in the future and it is crucial that we act now to reduce our emissions.

The Met Office and the BBC have produced an interactive tool to help you understand what climate change will look like within your postcode area.

It is likely that climate change will impact the council, communities and businesses across West Lothian including increased risk of flooding, storms, wildfires, drought and heat waves, leading to:

  • Damage and disruption to essential infrastructure including transport, energy and water networks
  • Damage to buildings and effects of overheating and extreme rainfall events
  • Changes to and increased pressure on local habitats and species biodiversity
  • Changes to agriculture and forestry including longer growing seasons, increased pests and diseases, challenges of more variable and extreme weather and degraded habitats
  • Changes in social and recreational behaviour with increased opportunities for active, outdoor activities
  • Pressure on emergency services in dealing with the impact of extreme weather events such as floods, landslides and wildfires and health impacts

Further information can be found on the SEPA website. The latest United Kingdom Climate Projections data is available from the Met Office

Storm Arwen

Trees flattened by Storm Arwen November 2021 at John Muir country park in Dunbar, East Lothian. Estimates suggest that 8 million trees in Scotland were affected by the storm.

Local Climate Impact Profile

A Local Climate Impact Profile (LCLIP) prepared in 2018 found that the council has already experienced a range of adverse impacts on property and services as a result of extreme weather events.

The findings identified that between 2000 and 2015, the council spent approximately £40 million on maintenance and repair costs as either a direct or indirect result of extreme weather events, not accounting for loss of staff time and costs due to impairment of service delivery.

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