Aberdeen City Council Countryside Ranger Service

VIBES Award: Climate Change Adaption

Sponsored by: Adaptation Scotland

Highlights:

  • Recent projects to adapt to flooding related climate change and encourage biodiversity have included:
    • restoration of East Tullos Burn
    • development of Seaton Park Wetland

Planted 230,000 trees across the city through the ‘Tree for Every Citizen’ initiative, benefits include:

  • sequester 12,000 tonnes of CO2 over their lifetime
  • reducing run-off, soil erosion and air pollution, managing groundwater levels, increasing biodiversity

The Countryside Ranger Service manages 28 countryside sites within Aberdeen to promote nature conservation, recreation and education for all. As part of this, the team delivers outdoor learning and environmental education activities for all ages to highlight the natural environment and responsible citizenship.

The Climate Change Adaptation award recognises businesses and partnerships that are taking a proactive approach to managing climate risks and/or developing products and services that are enabling society to adapt. The judges felt that Aberdeen City Council Countryside Ranger Service was a great example of a local authority working towards reducing the impacts of climate change through
adaptation.

The judges were pleased with the range of projects to mitigate against flooding and improve biodiversity. The Ranger Service is involved in a European Blue Green Infrastructure project (BEGIN – Blue Green Infrastructures through Social Innovation) delivering three flooding projects, including at Maidencraig, Fernielea and Summerhill.

Aberdeen City Council Countryside Ranger Service displayed good examples of cost benefits of their projects including;

  • Alterations of paths to reduce maintenance
  • Prevention of costly repairs/pumping costs during times of very heavy rainfall with the introduction of wetlands.
  • Reduction of risk of flooding in the city, which reduces the risk of insurance claims against the council, due to the presence of valves, wetlands and SUDs systems.
  • Reduction of grass cuttings, energy (fuel etc.) and time required to manage the area with their Tree for Every Citizen project.

With their Tree for Every Citizen initiative, 230,000 trees have been planted in the city at various locations. It was estimated that these will sequester 12,000 tonnes of CO2 over their lifetime. Other benefits include reducing run-off, soil erosion and air pollution, managing groundwater levels, and increasing biodiversity. The project was also used as a way to include the community with volunteer
work.

The introduction of wetlands at East Tullos and Seaton Park has reduced the risk of flooding, and produced areas of great biodiversity - supporting native wildflowers, insects and birds. The successful installation of the wetlands means that the amenities are open for more days per year than before – for example, previous flooding meant that the access road into Seaton Park car park was inaccessible
with footpaths and recreational playing fields flooded.

The judges were particularly impressed with the enthusiasm and the commitment of the team, and the strong social engagement and knowledge sharing of the projects. The judges were also impressed by the cost-neutral / low cost delivery model of the case study projects.

"We are proud to have been recognised at this year’s VIBES – Scottish Environment Business Awards. Receiving commendation for the Climate Adaptation award is a real testament to the hard work and commitment from everyone at Aberdeen City Council towards reducing our impact on the environment. The Awards are a fantastic way to find out about what other businesses and organisations are doing and share best practice amongst a like-minded community that too want to improve their operations while benefiting the environment and it is hoped that others are inspired to follow suit." - Aberdeen City Council operational delivery convener, Councillor John Wheeler

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