Council declares climate emergency
Midlothian Council has declared a ‘Climate Emergency’ with the aim of making the council’s activities net-zero carbon by 2030.
At a meeting of the full Council on Tuesday (December 17) it was agreed that the council should achieve 100% clean energy across the full range of its functions by 2030 and ensure that all strategic decisions, budgets and approaches to planning decisions are in line with a shift to zero carbon by that date.
Impact of climate change
The council will support and work with other agencies towards making the entire area zero carbon within the same timescale and ensure that political and chief officer leadership teams embed this work in all service areas. Council Scrutiny Panels will also be asked to consider the impact of climate change and the environment when reviewing policies and strategies.
Young people will also be encouraged to become actively involved in the process, ensuring that they have a voice in shaping the future. A Citizens’ Assembly will be convened to help identify how the council’s activities might be made net-zero carbon and to consider the climate change impact of each area of the council’s activities.
A new Climate Change Partnership group will be set up, involving councillors, residents, young citizens, climate science and solutions experts, businesses, Citizens Assembly representatives and others. The group will consider strategies and actions being developed by the council and partner organisations and will recommend ways to maximise the local benefits of these in other sectors such as employment, health, agriculture, transport and the economy.
The council also plans to report on the level of investment in the fossil fuel industry that its pensions plan and other investments have, and review its investment strategy to give consideration to climate change impacts in the investment portfolio.
“As a council, and as individual citizens, we need to accelerate our efforts to address the impact of climate change,” said the council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, Councillor Russell Imrie. “We owe it to future generations to take this issue seriously and in doing so, we need to engage with our communities to take the actions we have outlined in the motion approved by Midlothian Council this week.
“We will also be calling on the UK Government to provide the powers, resources and funding support to make this possible,” added Councillor Imrie. “Other actions which could be implemented, include renewable energy generation and storage, providing electric vehicle infrastructure and encouraging alternatives to private car use, and increasing the efficiency of buildings - in particular to address fuel poverty. We will also look at using our local planning powers to speed up the delivery of net zero carbon new developments and communities.”