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Strengthening resilience

Published: 21 Mar 2016 11:30

Environment Minister launches country’s first National Centre for Resilience.

Scotland's new National Centre for Resilience (NCR) is set to become a 'centre for excellence' focusing on natural hazards says Environment Minister Aileen McLeod.

The NCR, which will have its core staffing presence on the Crichton Campus in Dumfries, officially launched today (Monday). It will work to enhance Scotland's resilience and the steps that can be taken to ensure communities across the country are fully and adequately prepared for natural hazards such as flooding and landslides.

Speaking at the launch in Dumfries Dr McLeod said:

"Frequent severe weather, like we have witnessed this winter with the likes of Storms Desmond, Eva and Frank, can disrupt the lives of individuals and communities. Preparing society to help with adaptation measures is key if the impact of climate change on communities – particularly those most vulnerable – is to be reduced.

"The National Centre for Resilience will be Scotland's first resilience 'centre of excellence' focusing on natural hazards and how Scotland can become more resilient towards them. It will help improve our understanding of the impact of natural hazards, such as extreme weather events on communities, and provide support to them including practical tools kits, learning and exercise opportunities. The centre will be a national resource helping with, anticipating, and reducing problems from developing in the first place and, where they do emerge, enabling individuals and communities to recover quickly.

"It's important to bear in the mind that the centre is not a response facility, but a knowledge and research hub, operating on a network basis facilitating the sharing of best practice and developing resources and capacity available locally, but also reaching out to a number of institutions and organisations across Scotland and beyond.

"I'm delighted that after a lot of hard work this centre has come to fruition and I am confident it will improve the protection and resilience of Scotland's water assets and critical infrastructure as well as exploiting world-class multi-agency resilience arrangements at the local level to build national strength."

The Scottish Government has worked in collaboration with the SEPA, Met Office, Dumfries & Galloway Council, ClimateXExchange, the University of Glasgow, among other partners, to make the NCR a reality.

Alan Motion, Head of Strategic Engagement at the Met Office said:

"The Met Office is happy to bring our expertise in weather and climate science to support the development and implementation of the Scottish Government's National Centre for Resilience. The Centre provides a platform for us to work with existing and new partners across Scotland.

"The NCR will enable partners and stakeholders to share knowledge and skills whilst building wider relationships to help develop a better understanding of the impacts of natural hazards on the day to day activities of people across Scotland. The work within the NCR will help inform, improve and develop key outputs, including our work with SEPA in the Scottish Flood Forecasting Service and our support to Transport Scotland in keeping Scotland moving."

David Faichney, from SEPA's Flood Unit, said:

"The centre recognises the increasingly important role that community resilience will play in understanding, preparing for, and reacting to severe weather events in Scotland. This is a positive step towards co-ordinating a wide range of quality information, knowledge and understanding across many agencies and partnerships who work to keep Scotland running during adverse events."

Notes to editors

  • The NCR includes a number of strategic partners which make up its core membership: Scottish Government, Met Office, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Police Scotland, Scottish Funding Council (SFC), Dumfries & Galloway Council, Sniffer, Scottish Flooding Forum, University of Edinburgh and University of Glasgow.
  • A wide range of organisations and stakeholders are also involved in the running of the NCR and delivery of NCR projects and work streams.
  • The centre will bring together science, best practice and local knowledge to develop Scotland's national capabilities in preparing and dealing with emergency situations relating to weather and other natural hazards
  • The centre will work on a network basis across Scotland, with a core staffing presence on the Crichton Campus in Dumfries.
  • The centre's staffing complement will consist of a Centre Manager, research coordinator, two researchers, a project and engagement officer, and an administrator.
  • The centre will be a collaborative partnership, drawing its membership from responder organisations, academia and resilience practitioners – it will not be involved in responding directly to situations, but will support and inform better practice in dealing with emergencies.