Aberdeenshire Council’s carbon reduction targets for this year are on track to remove 75 per cent of its annual emissions by the end of the decade.
A cap of 44,152 tonnes of CO2e is set for 2023/24 measured against a baseline of 86,155 tonnes emitted by the Council in 2010/11.
Aberdeenshire Council was the first authority in Scotland to develop and approve a carbon budget in 2017 and has successfully reduced emissions each year in line with the ambitious targets set out in law by the Scottish Government.
To develop this carbon budget, the focus was on further opportunities to reduce emissions from operational buildings, the fleet and street lighting, as well as consideration of additional energy efficiency and resource interventions.
LED street lighting continues to be used across the region with significant cost and emissions savings.
Other proposed carbon savings include, but are not limited to, off-grid bus shelters, energy from waste, and the move to repaving warm-mix roads.
In addition, the Council continues to advance studies for its operational buildings to verify the feasibility of air-source heat pumps, additional solar panels, wind generation, solar farms, and battery storage for excess energy.
The expansion of electric vehicle infrastructure is also progressing across the region, which will help the authority add additional low-emission vehicles to its fleet.
Sarah Dickinson, Chair of the Sustainability Committee, said: “Climate change is one of the greatest global threats we face.
“Nationally, it is recognized that climate change will have impacts on the economy, people and the environment.
“By establishing an annual carbon budget and supporting our roadmap to 2030 and beyond, Aberdeenshire Council continues to show how it is playing its part in trying to tackle the challenge of global climate change, while also supporting ambitious national targets.”
Released in September 2022, the Roadmap to 2030 and beyond contains all of these measures and outlines how the council plans to decarbonize 75 percent of its emissions before achieving net zero by 2045.
There are many projects happening across the council that will also support regional emissions reduction in addition to the council’s own emissions, such as the housing service’s work on energy efficiency, solar power generation, battery storage and heat decarbonisation.
The council is also working on a local heat and energy efficiency strategy that will systematically improve the energy efficiency of buildings.
Similarly, Education and Children’s Services has developed a Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy that highlights the outcomes of reducing emissions related to behavioral change.
Vice President of Sustainability Jim Gifford said: “This is without a doubt the most comprehensive challenge the Council will face over the coming years.
“Given the scale of what is before us, we cannot do this alone.
“We need dedicated and flexible funding to deliver the long-term projects required to do what is best for this council area.
“We clearly don’t have the money, and we must collectively use every opportunity to lobby for the resources we need to achieve these ambitious goals.”
The financial implications of reaching the 75 per cent cut are significant and would require external funding to achieve, which the Council continues to investigate.
Aberdeenshire Council has also developed a Carbon Toolkit which shows the costs and savings achieved through carbon reduction initiatives to help prioritize emissions and reduce them in the most cost effective way.
A carbon budget is set each year to keep the Council on track towards its carbon removal targets.
It is measured in tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e), which shows the effect of different greenhouse gases in terms of the amount of carbon dioxide that can create the same level of global warming.
To achieve its 75 percent target, the council must decarbonize to no more than 21,539 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year by 2030/31.
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