Council steps up plans to tackle climate challenges
Published: 1 February 2022
The Council has stepped up its plans to tackle the national climate emergency.
A 'Get to Zero' plan that will meet the requirements of achieving net zero carbonemissions by 2045, with interim targets for 75% by 2030 and 90% by 2040, is to be published later this year.
As part of this important area of work, research has been carried out to analyse the council's current performance in carbon emissions.
This assessment examined the areas of council operations that could be changed to provide the greatest reductions in carbon production, as well as considering what contributes to the organisation's overall carbon footprint.
The report, which was considered by councillors on 27 January, showed that the top sources of council emissions were generated through the supply chain (57%), natural gas supply in council buildings (15%), municipal landfill (12%), electricity use in council buildings (9%), food and garden waste recycling (3%) and fuel for vehicles (2%).
It was also recognised that the council's impact on carbon emissions only accounts for around one third of East Renfrewshire's total emissions and so the role of the wider community in supporting the Get to Zero ambition is vital. Actions to tackle community emissions will be set out in the upcoming Get to Zero Action Plan.
Council Leader Tony Buchanan said: 'We are committed to tackling climate change across the area and our Get to Zero Action Plan will set out how the council will reduce its own emissions and support our communities to reduce their emissions, as we work together to make East Renfrewshire a greener place for all. As part of this process we will engage closely with the community as residents and businesses will need to play their part in the fight against climate change. To put the challenge of the net zero target into context, to offset the council's 2019/20 emissions through treeplanting alone, an estimated 163 hectares of land would be required - which is around the size of 228 football pitches. And this would be required each year to offset these emissions if the council took no other action to reduce them. So it is important that we prioritise reducing our emissions as much as possible before considering other schemes to capture and absorb greenhouse gas emissions.'
The report findings showed that between 2019/20 and 2020/21 the council's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduced by 10%. Most reductions in emissions during this time are due to decreased occupation of council buildings and reduced travel.
There has been real progress in GHG reductions from waste being diverted from landfill to energy recovery as a result of a joint contract with other neighbouring councils. This initiative - the Clyde Valley Residual Waste Project - will provide a lasting benefit, with a 49% reduction of GHG estimated over the lifetime of the project. The Clyde Valley Residual Waste Project is a 25-year contract between East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Councils which will see up to 190,000 tonnes of black bag waste from the five councils diverted from landfill and converted to low carbon energy on an annual basis.