Keeping up momentum in the race to cut carbon emissions

East Ayrshire Council’s strong commitment to meeting carbon emission reduction targets was reinforced this week as council approved its Climate Change Public Sector Report for 2021, which has now been submitted to  the Scottish Government to support the country’s climate change action plans.

Coming in the wake of COP26 and the launch of the council’s own Clean Green East Ayrshire Climate Change Strategy, this annual performance report provides details of the Council’s carbon emissions in 2020/21. It also takes into account the impact of Covid 19 and the need to update the Council’s approach to meet the Scottish Government’s revised carbon reporting guidance and   changes to national and international climate change targets.

Councillors endorsed the report, which re-iterates the council’s ambitions to become a net zero council by 2030 in accordance with their recent pledge to the UK100 movement, with a further aspiration for the whole area to become net zero by 2045.

Councillors also agreed to investigate the best way to measure and report on the wider East Ayrshire emissions and report back to Cabinet in 2022.

Councillor Claire Leitch, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Net Zero, Environment and Climate Change, Equalities and Inclusion welcomed the report saying. “Today’s report is proof that as a council we’re not just playing lip service to the urgent need to tackle climate change. It outlines the impact of the work we’ve carried out to scrutinise our actions and implement changes to reduce our carbon emissions across all council services.

“In recent months we’ve held our second Children and Young People’s Climate Change Conference, signed up to the UK100 Net Zero initiative, launched our Climate Change Strategy and held a well supported consultation on that document. This report is the next step on our journey towards reduced carbon emissions.

“It’s a great testament to the dedication of our environmentally aware young people that we are driving this forward. They were the ones who called for us all to take a long hard look at everything we do as a council and in our communities and see where changes could be made.

“We listened to that and formed our Members and Officers Working Group, including members of our Young People’s Cabinet and community representatives – this brought all our services together to report on what was already being done, scrutinise every function of the council and look at, report on and set targets for improvements with our Climate Change Strategy.

“Today’s report pulls all this work both internally with the council and externally in the wider area together and will deliver a picture of where we are at, where we aim to be and most importantly how we’ll get there.

“Key to this process is the commitment everyone has shown to keeping up the amazing momentum and goodwill we’ve already built with our strategy. And as elected members we look forward to being part of the progress which will be reported on regularly as we strive to tackle these vital issues and create a Clean Green East Ayrshire of which we can all be proud.”