North Ayrshire Council sets ten-year carbon neutral goal
North Ayrshire Council has revealed its plans to achieve net-zero carbon emissions within a decade after confirming ambitious plans to tackle the climate crisis.
The local authority, which declared a climate emergency last year, will ramp up its efforts in recognition of the global problem.
At a meeting of cabinet on Tuesday, elected members agree to a range of proposals including:
- Engaging with higher education establishments to develop proposals for a solar farm project
- Opportunities to further increase the generation of renewable energy
- Develop innovative energy-efficient homes using the evidence-based Sustainable Demonstrator Home project
- Work in partnership to identify and implement sustainable opportunities for local businesses and council assets
- Investing in new technologies to deliver low carbon heat and energy supplies across domestic, non-domestic and transport sectors
- Introduce an Electric Vehicle (EV) Strategy, utilising available funding to install EV charge points across North Ayrshire to encourage and support uptake of EV’s.
The council said it recognised it will not be able to achieve net-zero emission status without absorbing emissions – and work is already underway to identify available suitable land, secure funding and investigate any commercial viability for tree planting.
There is also an opportunity to further engage with primary schools in partnership with the Woodland Trust’s Tree Planting programme.
The report to councillors will highlight the efforts the council has made in recent years to improve its carbon footprint. Since 2005, it has reduced carbon emissions by almost 40%.
The North Ayrshire Council Environmental Sustainability & Climate Change Strategy (ESCCS) 2015-20 contained a range of actions to help achieve emission reduction targets.
The council is currently engaging with communities in a consultation called ‘Climate Change: Just Cool It’ to learn more from residents. The consultation remains open until February and responses will help inform the next strategy.
An awareness campaign is also being planned with a series of events to engage with the public and hear their views. The Primary School Energy Challenge will also identify ways to further engage with young people throughout North Ayrshire.
Councillor Jim Montgomerie, cabinet member for place, said: “This report sets out our ambitions and how we are determined to make a difference.
“To have net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 is ambitious but we feel it is achievable and what is required. We employ over 6,000 staff, have over 700 buildings in the council’s estate, together with a social housing stock of over 13,000. The council also has an extensive fleet of over 500 vehicles – so we are therefore well placed to work in a sustainable manner and lead by example.
“We need buy-in from staff, partners and local businesses to see change really happening. Thankfully we have had lots of support and hopefully there will be even more over the coming weeks and months.
“We are working on a number of innovative schemes that we are confident will make a huge difference as we tackle this escalating problem.”