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Edinburgh council proposes how it will become a net-zero organisation by 2030

Draft plans include ensuring that all new council operational buildings are constructed to the highest energy criteria and electrifying all council car and van fleets.

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City of Edinburgh Council's Waverley Court building
City of Edinburgh Council's Waverley Court building

The City of Edinburgh Council has revealed its draft plan to become a net-zero organisation by 2030.

 

Councillors will consider the draft report that outlines some of the first steps the council could take to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change.

 

Climate commitment

 

The draft Council Emissions Reduction Plan follows on from the council signing the Edinburgh Climate Commission’s Climate Compact in December 2020 where it committed to make changes to its operations, transport and buildings to reduce its emissions footprint and support the city’s target of net-zero by 2030.

 

The council’s carbon emissions have fallen by 62 per cent since 2005-06, well above the 42 per cent target it set to hit by 2021. A 51 per cent reduction has been made since 2017-18.

 

The draft plan commits the council to:

  • ensuring that all new council operational buildings are constructed to the highest energy criteria and using alternatives to gas boilers for heat as a standard
  • a £0.6m investment in scoping and planning for the retrofit of existing council buildings so they can meet the highest energy efficiency standards
  • a plan for electrifying all council car and van fleets
  • an immediate improvement to school recycling facilities
  • investing in the organisation’s funding capacity and expertise
  • investing in a programme of staff training to develop climate knowledge and skills.

“Although the council’s own emissions only account for three per cent of Edinburgh’s total emissions, we need to lead by example in our own work to show others what’s possible,” said councillor Adam McVey, City of Edinburgh Council leader. “The journey to net zero emissions will undoubtedly be difficult, but we have a track record of delivery and firm commitment to deliver on our responsivities to future generations.

 

“By taking action on climate change and committing to a 10-year strategic approach to deliver a net-zero organisation, we’ll not only deliver environmental benefits but deliver wider health, economic and welling benefits for the whole city.

 

“Becoming a more energy efficient council; encouraging sustainable travel choices and reducing the amount of waste we produce will positively impact on all of us and help to unlock opportunities to reduce inequalities as we build back better and greener.”

“Although the council’s own emissions only account for three per cent of Edinburgh’s total emissions, we need to lead by example in our own work to show others what’s possible”

Depute council leader, councillor Cammy Day, pointed out that the Scottish capital’s net-zero ambition is embedded in a number of strategies and programmes currently being developed, which will have an impact on both the city and the council’s emissions footprint.

 

He added: “Our commitment to only build to net-zero or Passivhaus standard wherever possible is an important preventative measure. Investing in the knowledge, skills and capacity to decarbonise and retrofit our council estate is an important priority to unlock future plans to deliver change.

 

We all have a part to play in reducing citywide greenhouse gas emissions. This report shows the council’s leadership and a commitment to action as well as a culture shift in how the organisation thinks about and plans for climate change.

 

According to the most recent emissions footprint calculations for the council, buildings make up 63 per cent of its emissions. Other energy consumption is 16 per cent, fleet nine per cent, waste eight per cent, business travel three per cent and water one per cent.

 

As well as suggesting actions that the council could take to reduce its impact on the environment, the Emissions Reduction Plan report also highlights opportunities to invest in skills and maximise external funding coming to the council and the city.

 

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