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10/09/2019

North Ayrshire Council Declares Climate Emergency

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North Ayrshire Council is seeking views on the development of a new climate action strategy.

The council has declared a Climate Emergency and is seeking views on "what can be done together to prevent irreversible damage to our environment".

The consultation called 'Climate Change: Just Cool It' has now been published online and the public are invited to join the debate and share their views on the subject.

The Council committed to taking action now to reduce carbon emissions across North Ayrshire following a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), where it was reported that the world has only 11 years left to limit climate change before the damage to our planet is irreversible.

Both Scottish and UK governments have taken a decision to declare a climate change emergency. Climate change is a global problem, with extreme weather events affecting many people living in North Ayrshire.

The Council has been proactive in reducing the amount of carbon emissions associated with electricity, gas, transport fuel and waste at a local level, successfully reducing their carbon emissions by almost 40 per cent since 2005. It published its first Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy (ESCCS) in 2014, which was then updated in 2017.

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Almost 10MW of renewable or low-carbon energy has been generated so far through its solar retrofit programme, biomass retrofit programme and landfill gas recovery schemes, and over 60 per cent of street lighting across North Ayrshire has already been replaced with more energy efficient LED lighting.

The Council also invested £1million last year in energy efficiency measures in a range of Council buildings, which will be paid back by guaranteed savings in energy bills.

Support has also been given to primary schools through the Primary School Energy Challenge, reducing energy consumption and encouraging low carbon behaviours.

However, an ambition to be net-zero carbon – achieving a balance between carbon emissions and carbon removal – has now been set by the Council, and to achieve this some big changes have to be made in our society. These will include reducing emissions from homes, buildings, transport and waste.

The aim will be to offset any emissions created locally by removing them from the atmosphere using natural sources, including planting trees to absorb carbon dioxide.

The comments, suggestions and views you share throughout the consultation period will help to shape the next Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy and the goals which must be set for the Council to achieve its bid to become a net-zero carbon local authority.

Councillor Jim Montgomerie, Cabinet Member for Place, said: "While we are already working hard to reduce carbon emissions in North Ayrshire, we know that there is a lot of work ahead to enable us to achieve our ambitious target of net-zero carbon.

"We would urge everyone to take part in this crucial consultation. Your views are important to us and will help to shape our strategy on climate change and what we can do to fight it now and in the years ahead."

(MH/JG)

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