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Climate change report highlights Council successes

 31 October 2014  |  

A superb 20% reduction in carbon emissions, more rural homes insulated, improved uptake in walk and cycle to work schemes and a network of green champions to help drive energy efficiency in the workplace.

Those are some of the successes highlighted in South Ayrshire Council's annual progress report on climate change for 2013/14, approved by elected members this week.

In 2007, the Council became the first Scottish local authority to sign up to Scotland's Climate Change Declaration, making a public commitment to tackle the issue through improvements in the use of resources and energy efficiency and reporting results annually.

The reduction in carbon emissions is particularly welcome and represents an amount equivalent to filling the volume of almost 50 double-decker buses every year since between 2008/13.

Buoyed by this success, the Council has now committed to reducing carbon emissions by a further 3% each year.

Welcoming the report, Councillor John McDowall, Portfolio Holder for Sustainability and Environment said: "I'm delighted with our achievements this year and with how far we've come since we committed to Scotland's Climate Change Declaration.

"Some of the highlights we're now seeing are down to our network of green champions who have been brilliant in monitoring equipment use and encouraging staff to switch-off machines when not in us, as well as championing ways for us to make better use of gas and electricity.

"Other highlights in the report include a wider use of low wattage street lighting, trackers in our vehicles and driver training programmes to promote efficient use of fuel, LED lighting installed at Newton House, replacement boilers and biomass heating installed at the new primary school in Barrhill."

"Our Home Energy Efficiency Project has worked to improve energy efficiency at over 400 homes in South Ayrshire – improvements which will deliver fuel bill savings of over £181,000 across their lifetime – fantastic news for our tenants and residents."

The report also pinpoints areas where further action is needed, including better uptake in food waste recycling from households and developing further energy saving improvements at Council owned properties and premises.

It also suggests widening work with other organisations and partners such as the Energy Agency who already offer free and impartial advice to members of the public and businesses, as well as providing energy lessons in primary schools.

Councillor McDowall concluded: "We've already come a long way since we signed up to Scotland's Climate Change Declaration and the response from our residents and staff has been excellent.

"We can all make a difference and even small steps, such as walking to work, insulating bare water pipes, not leaving electrical appliances on standby when not in use, all add up to make a big impact.

"Looking ahead, I hope more residents will get behind us and convert those small steps into giant strides, as we work together to tackle climate change and make South Ayrshire a greener and cleaner place to live, work and play."

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