BUMPER crops, soaring world food prices and a revival of the fishing industry are all included as ‘positive’ outcomes of climate change in a council report.

The report, part of a draft East Lothian Council Climate Change Strategy, sets out pros and cons of rising temperatures and dramatic weather fronts.

It puts a positive spin on some of the risks connected to climate change in the coming years by listing “opportunities” it will bring to the county alongside the risks.

It points out that agriculture is the dominant land use in East Lothian, occupying about 75 per cent of it.

While it warns that a warmer and wetter climate could increase the risk of “extreme weather events such as droughts or floods”, it also states “primary producers may benefit from both improved growing and grazing conditions and higher global food prices”.

And it says that changes could boost the county’s tourist industry, pointing out that “warmer weather could result in increased tourism. Warmer summers and milder winters could increase opportunities for year-round outdoor recreation and leisure”.

Changes to marine life could also provide an opportunity, the report claims, adding that “warmer waters may see the arrival of new commercial fish species, which could boost the local fishing industry”.

It even manages to find a positive in predictions that substantial smog episodes, which were seen in 2003 in Europe, could become typical by 2040, increasing summer pollution.

It said: “Episodes of winter smog, by contrast, are likely to be less prevalent due to higher wind speeds which will help disperse pollutants.”

A warmer climate could also, the report says, improve residents’ health by encouraging more outdoor activities in the summer  and reducing a reliance on heating helping reduce fuel poverty.

However, the report was unable to come up with the positives when it came to the impact on emergency services and coastal erosion, both of which only identified risks.

The council has launched a public consultation on its draft climate change strategy for the next five years.

It aims to reduce its carbon emissions by 2.5 per cent annually and work towards a zero waste target.

It said: “The strategy sets out how the council will tackle climate change, and how it will work in partnership with our local communities, businesses, organisations and individuals to ensure that East Lothian can play its full part in the national and international efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

“The strategy will contribute to raising awareness of climate change challenges and opportunities in East Lothian.

“It also sets out the priorities and actions for the council and the wider East Lothian community to mitigate against and reduce the impacts

of climate change and the inequalities that can result.”

Among the council’s proposals to tackle climate change by reducing carbon emissions are: continuing to improve the energy efficiency of homes and public buildings; reduce, reuse and recycle waste; improving active travel and sustainable transport networks and promoting behaviour change to more sustainable travel choices; supporting local businesses to improve resource efficiency and sustainability; and managing the natural environment to off-set carbon emissions.

An eight-week consultation period on the draft strategy is open.

Angela Leitch, council chief executive, said: “The draft climate change strategy is an important piece of work which sets out how the council will tackle climate change locally and also how it will work in partnership to ensure that East Lothian as a community can play its full part in the national and international efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

“Climate change is one of the defining issues of our times. It can be difficult to know what we, as individuals, can do to make a difference and help reduce the impacts of climate change but we all need to act.”

Councillor, Norman Hampshire, environment spokesperson, added: “East Lothian’s climate is already changing, and in future we can expect warmer, drier summers, milder, wetter winters, and more extreme weather events such as heatwaves, storms and floods.

“We have to respond to the challenges this is causing and the opportunities this brings.”

Residents can take part in the public consultation until July 22 at eastlothianconsultations.co.uk or email climatechange@eastlothian.gov.uk