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New guidance on the effects of Climate Change for property owners

Vegetation growing on stone ledge causing decay:
Vegetation growing on stone ledge causing decay
photo © Edinburgh World Heritage

New guidance published to help protect Edinburgh’s buildings against Climate Change

Edinburgh – 21st August 2019

A new guide published today alerts property owners to the impact of climate change on traditional buildings in the capital, and provides practical advice on how to protect them against damage and decay. The Guide to Building Maintenance in a Changing Climate reports on the effect of fluctuating weather patterns on the condition of Edinburgh’s buildings, and provides step-by-step advice and guidance on how to identify damage and carry out repairs to keep properties wind and watertight.

Professional carrying out maintenance on property:
Professional carrying out maintenance on property
photo © Kevin Maclean

The new guidance reports that Edinburgh will face unprecedented weather events, with homes being disproportionately affected by changing rainfall patterns and an increase in extreme weather events. It also cautions that damage such as blocked drains, ineffective gutters, inappropriate vegetation growth, and stone erosion can adversely affect the ability of Edinburgh’s buildings to keep out wind and water.

Recommendations to property owners include taking simple actions that can mitigate the risk of having to pay for greater repairs further down the line, especially following major weather events. Research quoted in the new guidance states that “every £1 ‘saved’ by not carrying out preventative maintenance could cost £20 in repairs within 5 years”.

Anna Beswick, Yann Grandgirad:

photo © Santiago Arribas, Edinburgh World Heritage and Historic Environment Scotland

This guide, a joint Edinburgh Adapts project between Edinburgh World Heritage and Historic Environment Scotland (HES), contains practical and effective solutions designed for property owners to help them ensure that their historic homes and businesses are climate ready, including:

• What to expect from climate change in Edinburgh
• How both daily and extreme weather events affect historic homes
• Why maintenance is important and who is responsible for it
• Step-by-step guides and checklists for roofing, windows, gutters, stonework, paintwork, walls, chimneys and more.

Adam Wilkinson, Director of Edinburgh World Heritage said, “Although efforts to prevent climate change are necessary and urgent, there is no question that we must now confront the already substantial and unavoidable impact of climate change on our historic homes.

“The resilience of the historic buildings in our World Heritage Site is dependant on our ability to act now to maintain them. Systematic and proactive measures taken today to prevent decay and damage is one of the most important things we can do to prevent damage and loss in the future.”

Cast iron downpipe in poor repair causing leaking, damp and algae growth:
Cast iron downpipe in poor repair causing leaking, damp and algae growth
photo © Edinburgh World Heritage

Mairi Davies, Climate Change Manager at HES, said: “Edinburgh’s climate is changing at an unprecedented rate, making it more urgent than ever that we deal with the impact on the historic environment. We are moving towards warmer, wetter winters and an increase in the frequency and intensity of extremes.

“This guide provides a practical toolkit which will empower owners of historic buildings across the capital to adapt their properties and enhance resilience to the effects of climate change, protecting these irreplacable heritage assets for the future.”

The Guide to Building Maintenance in a Changing Climate is available online and at the following locations:
• The Tron Kirk, High Street
• Citizen Advice, 58 Dundas St
• City Archive, Edinburgh City Archives, Level 1, City Chambers, Edinburgh, EH1 1YJ
• Planning Department at City of Edinburgh Council, Waverly Court
• Edinburgh Central Library, Edinburgh and Scottish Collections, George IV Bridge
• Hanover Scotland Housing Association, 95 McDonald Road

Pat Graczyk, Hannah Genders Boyd, John Renshaw, Mairi Davies, Waseem Albahri, Fiona MacDonald:
Pat Graczyk, Hannah Genders Boyd, John Renshaw, Mairi Davies, Waseem Albahri, Fiona MacDonald
photo © Santiago Arribas

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Edinburgh World Heritage (EWH) is the official champion of the city’s World Heritage Site. EWH’s role is to monitor, enhance and promote Edinburgh’s unique historic values. www.ewht.org.uk

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