A road map for moving forward the ambitious target to deliver a carbon neutral Capital by 2030 has been set out by the City of Edinburgh Council.
The ‘short window improvement plan’ outlines 37 immediate and short-term actions across all areas of Council business such as planning, transport, housing, energy, education, tourism, culture, festivals, economic development, waste/recycling, parks, biodiversity/green infrastructure, our communities and partners.
The road map highlights the actions the Council is looking to take forward over the coming months while a City Sustainability Strategy is developed with partners and published next year.
Members of the Policy and Sustainability Committee will consider the road map at their meeting this Friday (25 October 2019).
Council Leader Adam McVey said: “Achieving carbon neutral status by 2030 is no mean feat and it's going to involve a Herculean effort by public bodies and partners right across the city. The scale of the challenge is huge, but what our work to date has shown is that this is achievable. We’ve identified initial immediate, short-term actions we can progress now to reduce our carbon impact while we continue to develop far-reaching plans towards our 2030 target. By investing in the right choices as a Council and encouraging other public bodies and private businesses to do the same, the next 11 years can deliver a climate secure future for the Capital. I know Edinburgh’s got what it takes to make this happen.”
Depute Council Leader Cammy Day said: “It's great to see this plan for immediate and short term actions coming forward and it just goes to show the huge amount of work that's already been done since we made our ambitious climate change pledge earlier in the summer. The plan identifies carbon-reducing opportunities right across the Council's services and estate and I know members of all parties will want to see progress on these as soon as possible so we can start reaping the benefits. Edinburgh is ready to be a leading carbon neutral city and I look forward to working with all our partnerships to achieve our ambitions.”
Councillors will also consider proposals to co-sponsor a City of Edinburgh Climate Commission with the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI) at the University of Edinburgh. The Commission is being established as part of the Place-based Climate Action research project and is scheduled to be launched in December this year. It will look to bring experts and city partners from all key stakeholders together to deliver on a shared ambition to tackle climate change and will support action to deliver the ambitious 2030 carbon neutral target.
Cllr McVey said: “Tackling climate change and our city's carbon emissions is a shared responsibility that must be driven by a strong citywide partnership. The Council continues to show much-needed public leadership on climate action by co-sponsoring a Climate Commission in Edinburgh which will build on the positive experience of other cities in the United Kingdom such as Leeds.”
Jamie Brogan, Head of Innovation & Skills at ECCI, said: “The collective call to action is for people and organisations across the city to work together to enable change in ways they have never done before. Our research shows that bringing together a diverse range of organisations and actors to establish a Climate Commission as an independent voice on climate change can really inspire and inform place-based climate action.”
The Committee will also receive an interim update from academics working with ECCI to describe the city’s current carbon footprint, and model a range of reduction scenarios across the public, commercial, industry and domestic sectors. The work is being carried out as part of a UK Place-based Climate Action Network project and a final report will be considered by the Climate Commission once it is established.
Planning is also under way for an Edinburgh Climate Conference and Youth Summit to be held in the Capital in the coming months alongside a series of sector specific workshops which will target specific challenge questions facing the city. The Council will also be launching a citywide conversation with the public in November which will be the beginning of a wider effort to engage and collaborate on climate action. This engagement will inform the City Sustainability Strategy due to be published next year. The strategy will be a partnership document that sets out how the city will tackle climate change and deliver a commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030.
The Council’s immediate action plan includes proposals to:
- accelerate the transition to electric vehicles within the Council’s fleet and expand and accelerate provision of electric vehicle charging infrastructure
- embed exemplar sustainable development and low carbon energy solutions across the Council’s new build housing programme
- carry out a targeted energy efficient retrofit of the Council’s operational buildings and commit to Passivhaus Standard as the default standard for all Council newbuilds across the operational estate
- finalise a new tourism strategy for Edinburgh (with associated delivery programme) to focus on a sustainable approach to the visitor economy
- increase the use of green infrastructure within new and existing infrastructure developments in order to increase permeability and cooling effects in the City
- implement an exemplar approach to evaluating and reporting on the sustainability impact of Council decisions in committee reports
- write to all ALEOs asking for them to adopt the 2030 target and to work with the Council to develop an action plan for implementation and indicating the Council’s intent to review service level agreements to reflect this request