South Ayrshire is earth hour champion

Pictured with the WWF panda at St John's Tower in Ayr (one of 15 iconic landmarks in South Ayrshire participating in Earth Hour 2013) are Councillor John McDowall, right, Portfolio Holder for Sustainability and the Environment and local Councillor Allan Dorans.

Pictured with the WWF panda at St John's Tower in Ayr (one of 15 iconic landmarks in South Ayrshire participating in Earth Hour 2013) are Councillor John McDowall, right, Portfolio Holder for Sustainability and the Environment and local Councillor Allan Dorans.

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Ahead of WWF’s annual Earth Hour on 23 March 2013, South Ayrshire Council is celebrating after being recognised as WWF’s Earth Hour Local Authority Champion for 2012.

Councillor John McDowall, the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Sustainability and the Environment accepted the award after the Council was rewarded for doing the most of all 32 local authorities in Scotland to support Earth Hour in 2012.

The Council’s efforts including switching the lights off on 15 of the area’s most iconic landmarks, running a competition for schools to build models of the buildings switching off and working with community groups and partners to achieve a great level of participation by South Ayrshire residents.

WWF’s Earth Hour is a global event and last year saw hundreds of millions of people in 152 countries turn off their lights at 8.30pm for an hour on Saturday 31 March.

In South Ayrshire lights in well-known buildings such as the Stumpy Tower in Girvan and St John’s Tower in Ayr were switched off.

Across Scotland, landmarks including Edinburgh Castle and the Forth Rail Bridge were plunged into darkness to mark Earth Hour along with global landmarks such as Times Square in New York, Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower, Niagara Falls, and the London Eye.

This year’s Earth Hour will take place at 8.30pm on Saturday 23 March 2013 and WWF Scotland’s Director, Lang Banks said: “Congratulations to South Ayrshire Council and local residents for spreading the word and making Earth Hour such a brilliant success locally.

“Earth Hour 2012 was truly a record breaker with the Scottish Government, public bodies and each one of Scotland’s 32 local authorities supporting it. Earth Hour demonstrates, in a very visual way, that people recognise climate change as one of the most serious threats facing people and nature. I encourage everyone to sign up and take part again in 2013.”

Councillor McDowall said: “Becoming Earth Hour Champions for 2012 is a stunning achievement marking South Ayrshire out as a local authority area fully committed to leading from the front in the drive to tackle climate change.

“The award is a real credit to those people who have embraced and supported our efforts, taking part in competitions, switching off their lights and even organising their own parties to celebrate Earth Hour.

“This year, we’d like to see more people than ever before in South Ayrshire make their own champion effort to switch lights off for an hour on 23 March and find ways to celebrate the global phenomenon that is Earth Hour.

“The Council will again be making every effort to support the campaign in 2013, with a bigger and more exciting range of ideas and initiatives, to make people stop and think about climate change – not just during Earth Hour, but each and every day.

“We want to keep South Ayrshire on the map as Earth Hour Champions and would encourage everyone to switch on to switching off on 23 March as our countdown to the event begins again from Monday 25 February 2013.”