Council’s strategy to tackle climate change

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South Ayrshire Council is to develop its own climate change strategy after senior officials confirmed at last week’s Leadership Panel meeting that they do not have one in place.

The council has managed to cut its carbon footprint by 13 per cent during the last financial year but as for having a climate change strategy, Kenneth Dalrymple, Neighbourhood Services boss, said: “We don’t have a strategy.

“The main driver is to get a strategy with the right people on board.”

More electric cars, renewable energy sources and sustainable commutes for employees were called for at the meeting and chief executive Eileen Howat told councillors that officers would come up with a plan. 

She said: “It is an area we need to pick up going forward. It is also an opportunity for us to save money as well and use the energy generated from the initiatives.”

Council leader Douglas Campbell said: “We have a coastal community. We already have areas that are subject to flooding risk. It is incumbent on us to take the lead. We need to look at the basics such as planting trees.”

The amount of household waste increased by half a per cent - causing the council to miss its target. However the target for compost waste was exceeded. Goals for cutting biodegradable rubbish going to landfill were also achieved and the household waste landfill reduction target was met.

And in March the council promised to stop using plastic straws and other single use plastics.

Depute council leader Brian McGinley said: “We don’t have the luxury of relying on fossil fuels going forward. We need to make sure we have a priority for green renewables. This needs to come further up the priority list.”

The Leadership Panel members signed off the Annual Climate Change Duty Reporting document - a record of the council’s efforts towards meeting the Scottish Government’s climate change goals.

The local climate change action plan will look at: 200 year flooding events (land raising and other defences so new homes can be built safely on areas at risk from flooding, however this infrastructure is itself a drain on resources and can exacerbate flooding elsewhere); developing a marine and coastal environment action plan; dunes and beaches as important defences against coastal inundation and the better their condition the greater the protection; the viability of certain crops is dependent on the climate of the area.