Media Release: HIE climate change seminar falls on flood anniversary

IT’S exactly a year since Highland families had to flee their homes during some of the worst floods in living memory. Thousands were left without power and damage to homes in Dingwall took months to repair.

As Network Rail prepare to strengthen its northern trunk route to withstand further weather extremes, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is to host a seminar to discuss the range of challenges we face through climate change.

Principal speaker, Maf Smith of the UK Sustainable Development Commission, will be joined by experts from Bhutan, Venezuela, Finland, India, Algeria and Canada. They will be outlining what effects they have already experienced and what preparations are being made in their countries for impending change.

The day-long event, led by UHI Policy Research Institute for Remote and Rural Regions will be held on November 9 at HIE’s Cowan House headquarters in Inverness.

Archie Prentice HIE’s sustainable development and environment manager said: “The Government’s Stern Review indicated we are too late to prevent any harmful consequences from climate change.

“Communities, both rural and urban, will be in the front-line in having to cope with the consequences of this, as the unfortunate recent events in the Outer Hebrides, east Highlands and Moray coast have made very clear.”

Professor John Bryden, director of the UHI PolicyWeb, added: “This seminar and workshop aims to set the individual, community and business impacts of, and responses to, climate change in the Highlands and Islands in a broad international context.

“We are very lucky to be able to draw on the expertise of our international speakers and of Dr Ellen Wall, who has also undertaken work for the International Panel for Climate Change on their impacts and adaptation reporting for North America.”

The morning’s international perspective on the subject – chaired by HIE’s head of strengthening communities, John Watt – will be open to all individuals on a first-come-first-served basis. Numbers are limited to 60.

Anyone interested in attending is asked to register their interest by contacting Anne Edwards at or phoning 01463 273563 by Monday, November 5.

The round-table afternoon session will concentrate on implications for the Highlands and Islands. Due to restrictions on space, this will be by invitation only. Delegates will be setting priority topics to be examined at subsequent events in Forres, Thurso, Stornoway and Perth.

In addition both morning and afternoon discussions will be filmed, with a full video-webcast available on the web as soon as possible after the event.

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Contact: Caroline Rham
Phone: 01463 244238