Becoming sustainable and net zero city

Edinburgh net zero 2030 mark

A cleaner, greener and more sustainable future for everyone is central to what we do and is one of the three priorities in our Business Plan.

Edinburgh has an ambitious target to become a net-zero city by 2030. This means that any greenhouse gas emissions put into the atmosphere are balanced out by those removed, producing a ‘net’ effect of zero.

There are four key Outcomes from the Business Plan which will support this priority:

Outcome 8: On track to deliver our 2030 net zero target. This will include:

  • working with partners and citizens ahead of COP2026 to develop a 2030 City Sustainability Strategy which will set out what it will take to reach our target and key areas of impact and investment. A supportive implementation plan will set out targeted actions to mitigate climate change and encourage businesses and city partners to adopt net zero strategies.
  • delivering a City Heat and Energy Masterplan tied to our Local Development Plan which lays out a strategic citywide approach to heat and energy production, distribution and efficiency.
  • developing a Council Emissions Reduction Plan that focuses on our own organisational emissions and reflects our commitment as a signatory of the City Climate Compact.
  • develop a costed plan to retrofit a reduced Council estate to become more energy efficient and maximise the use of clean energy and switch to zero-emission vehicles across our commercial fleet.
  • assess the risks of climate change and develop a plan to climate proof our infrastructure, communities, business and the natural and built environment.
  • Using our new Carbon Scenario Tool, to look at all our new major infrastructure investments over the next ten years and challenging them to reduce their emissions to net zero.
  • develop Service Level Agreements or similar documents for our arm’s length external organisations (ALEOs) that reflect our commitment to fair work and sustainability, incorporate the net zero target, and ask that ALEOs develop plans to reduce their emissions to net zero by 2030.

Outcome 9: Citizens are engaged and empowered to respond to the climate emergency.

  • Community engagement and empowerment will be at the heart of our approach to sustainability, giving citizens and businesses the information, resources and motivation needed to make informed choices and act on issues which will help reduce the city’s emissions.

Outcome 10: Develop key strategic sites and project to meet the needs of a diverse and growing city. This includes:

  • Our City Plan 2030 which will inform all decisions on new development proposals and shape how the city grows and changes over the next ten years.
  • The City Centre Transformation Plan seeks to create an area for people and not cars, an exciting place to live and visit, that continues to be enriched by the legacy of our historic past
  • The Granton Waterfront development – which will include 3,500 new net zero homes (with at least 35% of these being affordable) and gives an opportunity to showcase how development can contribute to a greener economy.

Outcome 11: The city has a well-connected and sustainable transport and active travel network.

This includes completing the Trams to Newhaven project, completing the East-West high-volume low carbon light rail route and the City Mobility Plan – which sets out plans for a sustainable and integrated transport system by 2030.

In addition, almost every part of the council can contribute to achieving Edinburgh’s net-zero target. Find out more about some of our processes which can help you work more sustainably and reduce your impact on the environment.  

The Sustainable Economy Recovery Working Group will drive forward key projects to help us meet our net zero target. These include:

  • Economy Strategy
  • Edinburgh Guarantee
  • Housing and Regeneration
  • 20 Minute Neighbourhood
  • Culture and Tourism.

There have been some notable highlights for each of the programme’s projects over the last month.

  • A refreshed Edinburgh Economy Strategy is planned for publication this year, with reports due for consideration by the Policy and Sustainability Committee in April and June 2021.
  • Part of the process will include an assessment of the major issues affecting the Edinburgh economy and provide assurance that the best and most appropriate response is planned for the recovery.