City of Edinburgh Council’s journey to net zero outlined

The City of Edinburgh Council has unveiled its draft plan to become a net zero organisation by 2030.

Councillors on the Policy and Sustainability Committee will consider a draft report outlining some of the first steps the council could take in its own operations to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change.

The draft plan commits the council to: 

  • Ensuring that all new council operational buildings are constructed to the highest energy criteria and using alternatives to gas boilers for heat as a standard.
  • A £600k investment in scoping and planning for the retrofit of existing council buildings so they can meet the highest energy efficiency standards.  
  • A plan for electrifying all council car and van fleets.
  • An immediate improvement to school recycling facilities. 
  • Investing in the organisations funding capacity and expertise.
  • Investing in a programme of staff training to develop climate knowledge and skills.

The draft Council Emissions Reduction Plan follows on from the council signing the Edinburgh Climate Commission’s Climate Compact in December 2020, where it committed to make changes to its operations, transport and buildings to reduce its emissions footprint and support the city’s target of net zero by 2030.

Commenting, City of Edinburgh Council Leader,
Councillor Adam McVey said: The council’s carbon emissions have fallen by 62% since 2005/06, well above the 42% target we were aiming to hit by 2021. We’ve made particular progress in recent years, with a 51% reduction since 2017/18.

“This ambitious plan aims to build on that success and sets out some of the first steps we’ll need to take across our major emissions sources to become a net zero organisation by 2030.

“Although the council’s own emissions only account for 3% of Edinburgh’s total emissions, we need to lead by example in our own work to show others what’s possible.

“The journey to net zero emissions will undoubtedly be difficult, but we have a track record of delivery and firm commitment to deliver on our responsibilities to future generations.

“By taking action on climate change and committing to a 10 year strategic approach to deliver a net zero organisation, we’ll not only deliver environmental benefits, but deliver wider health, economic and wellbeing benefits for the whole city.

“Becoming a more energy efficient council, encouraging sustainable travel choices and reducing the amount of waste we produce will positively impact on all of us and help to unlock opportunities to reduce inequalities as we build back better and greener.”

City of Edinburgh Council’s Depute Leader, Councillor Cammy Day said:
“Edinburgh’s net zero ambition is embedded in a number of our strategies and programmes currently being developed. These will have an impact on both the city and the council’s emissions footprint.

“Our commitment to only build to net zero or Passivhaus standard wherever possible is an important preventative measure. Investing in the knowledge, skills and capacity to decarbonise and retrofit our council estate is an important priority to unlock future plans to deliver change.

“We all have a part to play in reducing citywide greenhouse gas emissions. This report shows the council’s leadership and a commitment to action, as well as a culture shift in how the organisation thinks about and plans for climate change.”

According to the most recent emissions footprint calculations for the council, buildings make up 63% of the organisation’s emissions, while other energy consumption is 16%, fleet 9%, waste 8%, business travel 3% and water 1% respectively.

As well as suggesting actions that the City of Edinburgh Council could take to reduce its impact on the environment, the Emissions Reduction Plan report also highlights opportunities to invest in skills and maximise external funding coming to the council and the city.

Creating a Legacy in Liverpool

PSE April/May 22

Creating a Legacy in Liverpool

Our April/May 2022 edition of PSE brings you expert comment and analysis on a range of key public sector topics, from finance and investment to environment and decarbonisation. Learn how the public sector can develop renewable energy projects, or read Mayor of Liverpool., Joanne Anderson’s plans to create a social value legacy in the city, alongside so much more…


View all videos
PSE365: Public Sector Decarbonisation Virtual Event

Be A Part Of It!

PSE365: Public Sector Decarbonisation Virtual Event | 17 March 2022

PSE has created a full calendar of events to address the most important issues that influence the delivery of public sector services. 

Over 365 days you’ll have the opportunity to hear from a range of highly motivating, informative and inspirational speakers. These speakers will equip you with knowledge and unique insight to enable you to overcome the challenges that you face.

Magazine Feature

Keep communities at the heart of planning

Chris Borg, NALC policy manager

Chris Borg discusses the Planning for the Future white paper and explains the importance of residents and local councils having a say when it comes to planning

More articles...

View all