Aberdeenshire Council makes progress towards its climate change goals

Strong progress being made by Aberdeenshire Council towards tackling climate change and reducing its own carbon footprint has been welcomed by elected members.

By Kevin McRoberts
Friday, 19th November 2021, 6:00 am
The council is now making greater use of electric vehicles.
The council is now making greater use of electric vehicles.

The praise came as the council’s Sustainability Committee last week approved its mandatory Public Bodies Climate Change Duties Report 2020-21 for submission to the Scottish Government.

However, impacts from the pandemic were also addressed as contributing to the large reduction in emissions for 2020/21.

Aberdeenshire Council became the first local authority in Scotland to develop and approve a carbon budget and in March last year agreed a Climate Change Declaration.

It continues to work towards a carbon-free society by reducing its emissions by 75 per cent by 2030 – against a 2010/11 baseline – and becoming Net Zero by 2045.

A report for the Sustainability Committee outlined the authority’s climate change priorities, including the development of a ‘Route Map to 2030’ to identify what actions need to happen within the council to reach its 2030 target. The council will also embed its carbon budget into its financial budgets and look for ways to work with others across the region to ensure that Aberdeenshire reaches Net Zero by 2045.

Councillor Iain Taylor, Sustainability Committee chair, said: “The Council remains firmly committed to tackling climate change head-on and this report clearly highlights our pro-active approach to working collaboratively with our residents, businesses and partners in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions across the region as quickly as possible.

“The decision to develop a Route-Map to 2030 will be a very significant step towards reducing our carbon budget and hitting key environmental and climate improvements over the next five years. Although the route-map will look to mirror the objectives of COP26, its focus will be on the particular needs and requirements of Aberdeenshire.”

The Carbon Budget contains projects throughout council services which will bring about emission reductions. Projects include behaviour change, renewables, energy efficiency in building stock and street lighting, electric vehicles (EVs), EV infrastructure, battery operated landscaping equipment, waste reduction and reuse initiatives.

Councillors also welcomed the establishment of Climate Ready Aberdeenshire – a cross-sector initiative to create a regional climate change adaptation and mitigation strategy and action plan, bringing together the expertise of stakeholders from communities, public, private and third sector organisations.

Councillor Isobel Davidson, committee vice-chair, said: “During what have been very challenging times for us all since the Covid pandemic began, we have continued to invest our time and resources into ensuring we remain firmly focused on our climate change responsibilities.

"Whether that has been introducing a more sustainable and modern approach to flood risk management, identifying circular economy opportunities for the council or improving the energy efficiency of our homes, we are committed to ensuring Aberdeenshire is at the forefront of climate change.”