Council beats its own emission targets, a year ahead of schedule

Edinburgh skyline

Drastically cutting the amount of waste going to landfill has helped the City of Edinburgh Council beat its own emissions target a year ahead of schedule.

Figures released today as part of the latest Public Bodies Climate Change Duties report, reveal that since 2005/06, Council carbon emissions have been reduced by 60% - outstripping the Council’s aim of a 42% reduction by 2021.

The reduction in emissions is largely thanks to state-of-the-art waste reprocessing facilities at Millerhill becoming fully operational in 2019-20. The move has helped divert more than 107,000 tonnes of rubbish from landfill turning it instead into a resource which generates energy. The waste processing facility also removes and recycles metals from waste, providing a further environmental benefit.

Changing to a greener electricity supplier and reducing electricity consumption through moves such as upgrading street lighting to make it more energy efficient also helped the council beat its goal.

Council Leader and Policy and Sustainability Convener, Councillor Adam McVey said:

Exceeding our own carbon emissions target ahead of schedule is a major achievement and hugely encouraging and shows that the work we are doing to lower emissions and drive towards a net-zero position is having a real positive impact.

Our focus remains on becoming a net-zero carbon Capital City by 2030. This is an important step forward but there is still much more we need to be do if we’re to meet this goal and we can only achieve this is everyone is behind our efforts to build a sustainable future for Edinburgh.

Depute Leader and Policy and Sustainability Vice Convener, Councillor Cammy Day said: 

It’s very welcome to see that major projects such as the switch to energy efficient street lighting across the city, and the state-of-the-art waste treatment facility at Millerhill have contributed so significantly to the Council exceeding our own emissions targets for 2019-20.

It shows the value of investing in projects such as these, which not only help to improve our services but contribute to Edinburgh meeting its climate targets.

The report, which will be considered by the Policy and Sustainability Committee on Tuesday 10 November, finds that stationary emissions, which cover emissions from energy user (electricity, natural gas and other fuels) now make up three-quarters of the Council’s carbon emissions footprint.

Emissions from transport meanwhile make up 16%, landfill waste, recycling and waste energy recovery account for 8% and water supply and treatment make up 1% of emissions.

Having met its emissions target for 2021, the council will now focus on meeting its new, more challenging target of net-zero emissions by 2030.

Published: November 5th 2020