East Lothian faces its net zero challenges head-on

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CARBON footprint of East Lothian Council was reduced by 12.8% in the most recent full year.

The local authority’s new Climate Change Report also highlights that its carbon footprint has fallen by 27.7% since reporting began in 2014/15.

The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 requires public bodies to report annually on compliance with climate change duties.

The report on the council’s statutory Public Sector Climate Change Reporting shows that, in 2018/19, the council’s carbon footprint was 15,007 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, compared to 17,207 in 2017/18.

This is significant because it includes emissions from the council’s vehicle fleet for the first time.

It also includes the carbon footprint from activities such as refuse, recycling, grid electricity, water supply and treatment.

Councillor Norman Hampshire, Cabinet Spokesperson for the Environment, said: “I’m pleased that we are making good progress in reducing our carbon footprint, which is contributing to efforts to tackle climate change.

“Last year, we declared a Climate Emergency – requiring all council services to be net zero carbon as soon as reasonably practicable or in any case by 2045.

“This follows several proactive actions, with the council reducing its carbon emissions year on year.

“This is in support of national legislation, which requires Scotland’s emissions to be reduced to net zero by 2045.

“Following consultation we will be bringing forward our Climate Change Strategy.

“The draft strategy included measures such as continuing to improve the energy efficiency of homes and buildings, reducing waste, improving active travel and sustainable transport, enhancing our green networks and supporting businesses to improve sustainability.

“This builds on a number of positive actions such as the introduction of food waste collections, improvements in the local recycling rate, reductions in the amount of waste sent to landfill, improvements to the energy efficiency of homes, and tree planting around the county.

“Meanwhile, in addition to enhancements within our fleet, we are investing in infrastructure to facilitate greater use of electric vehicles more generally and are working to provide improved sustainable transport options.

“While we have made huge progress to date, the commitment to meeting net zero by 2045 will be a challenge and we are committed to playing our part, working with and supported by the Scottish Government and other partners.”