Residents are urged to support climate emergency measures
DUMFRIES and Galloway Council has cut its carbon emissions by more than 40 per cent since 1990, it has been revealed.
Councillors are now urging residents to join them in tackling climate change and doing what they can to reduce their carbon footprint.
The council held its inaugural cross-party member working group last week to coincide with Scotland’s Climate Week.
In June the authority agreed its 12-point climate emergency declaration and the cross-party group and the additional member / officer working group will oversee the implementation of this plan.
It encompasses everything the council will do to address climate change, building on the work already taking place in the council, including reducing its carbon footprint and emissions by adopting electric vehicles and encouraging staff to be more environmentally aware.
Already, 42 per cent reduction in carbon emissions has been achieved by introducing energy efficiency measures into council buildings such as insulation and energy generation measures such as solar panels which were fitted to Langholm Academy.
The cross-party group has discussed its action plan, including engaging with schools and youth groups to let young people have a say in the future of their planet.
But the council says it is not its responsibility alone and it is encouraging its partners and the public to do what they can, for example, walking or taking public transport instead of driving, switching off lights and electric appliances when not needed and recycling.
Even a small change can make a difference. Housing partners, landlords and private owners are all encouraged to make adaptations.
The council has recently taken its refuse service back in-house and terminating a private contract early.
It now plans to introduce kerbside recycling, something which residents have long asked for.
It has bought vehicles which are capable of handling recyclable materials.
It will provide bins for recycling certain items, like plastic and tins, and introduce community points for glass recycling, although it will be some time next year before this comes into operation.
Currently, people have to put everything in their wheelie bins or do their recycling elsewhere.
Councillor Dougie Campbell, environment champion, said: “This first meeting is significant because it marks the start of our work to achieve net carbon zero status in Dumfries and Galloway by 2025.
“Over recent weeks I’ve spoken to a wide range of people in the public, private and voluntary sectors and climate activists to hear their views on how we can work together to tackle climate change.
“We’ve set ourselves a challenging target for our region and are one of the very first local authorities in Scotland to declare a climate emergency.
“We need everyone to play their part and make changes to protect our natural environment.
“That’s why we’ll be engaging with people living and working in the region and listening to everyone’s views as we develop our plans.
“We’ll seek to work with other public bodies and I’m now asking them to work with us and match our commitment to tackling climate change.”