Climate Action Towns

We are working with local communities to support place-based climate action in a network of small Scottish towns.

An architectural sketch of people walking on a pathway and relaxing by a river beside a town centre.

Towns take action to tackle the climate emergency

To protect Scotland from the impacts of climate change, we all need to work together to adapt the ways we live, work, play and move in our cities, towns and villages.  

There is much work to be done, but if we do it together, well, and at pace, there are many co-benefits to be had. 

Action on climate change presents us all with the opportunity to create a Scotland that is a healthier, fairer and more thriving place to live for everyone.  

Our Climate Action Towns project is helping to realise these ambitions. The project is supported by the Scottish Government. 

We will be updating this page regularly with news from the project.

Video: why we should take collective climate action in Scotland’s towns

Our three-minute video explains the Climate Action Towns project.

Our work with small towns

We are working with local people and organisations in small towns across Scotland to:

  • bring small towns into the climate adaptation conversation: this is especially important when half of Scotland’s population lives in towns

  • challenge and explore what types of place-based action communities can take in small towns: this action is guided by the eight principles of a carbon conscious place

  • explore opportunities to support communities to deliver real change on the ground: these communities are in areas with historically limited action on climate change

  • use this work to outline learning for inclusive climate action at a town scale: this learning can be applied in places across Scotland and beyond

We are currently working with seven towns: Annan, Alness, Blackburn, Campbeltown, Holytown, Invergordon and Stevenston.

A portrait of Valerie Nimmo .She is standing in front of a stone building and is holding a community action plan document in her hands.

Reflections from year one

Hear about the first year of the Climate Action Towns project from those directly involved: community councillors, local organisations, and our team behind the scenes.

Read more
An illustration of a proposed climate conscious town centre with people walking along the waterfront, and others using kayaks and a rowing boat.

How we identified the towns

We used the Scottish Government Urban Rural Classifications (2016) and census data (2011) to identify 156 small towns in Scotland across 28 local authorities.

Using indicators like flood risk, projected sea-level rise, Climate Challenge funding and the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation, we then shortlisted about 20 towns.

We then had conversations with national agencies and other stakeholders about recent or soon-to-begin climate-focussed projects. This got us to the seven towns.

An architectural sketch of a high street and housing in a town centre with trees, grass and water running alongside it.

Where it all began

In 2019, we undertook a year of learning with four communities across Scotland into designing for a changing climate. This is an approach where practitioners use a whole-place approach to meet the net zero challenge. It was this year of learning that led to the Climate Action Towns project.

Read our report

Illustration credits: Richard Carman

Share your place-based climate action

We would like to hear from communities and local authorities who are creating carbon conscious places. If you are designing and adapting a place to reduce, repurpose and absorb carbon, please share examples of your work with us.

Get in touch