Aberdeen City Council’s plans to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2045 at the latest has been approved unanimously.
Plans have been drawn up for 2021-2025 which sets a target for the local authority to reach net zero, as well as outlining actions for this period to reduce carbon emissions and increase resilience to climate change.
In the council budget set in 2020, £100m was committed to helping the council tackle climate change.
Some of the projects being proposed to assist with helping the council achieve this goal are carrying out a hydrogen for heat feasibility study, retrofit pilot for 100 council homes, upgrading the lighting at Marischal College, conversion to dual fuel refuse collection vehicles, creating a council carbon budget, 100% of street lighting turned to LED and expand district heating connections.
Less industrial solutions could include sowing wildflower meadows and planting trees in large public green spaces.
In total, there are 39 named projects which will be undertaken over the next few years.
Plans will continue to be reviewed, and a new plan is proposed to be brought back to a full council meeting in 2025, and will continue to be reviewed every five years, or earlier if required.
A motion was put forward by Aberdeen City Council co-leader Jenny Laing to approve the proposals.
She said: “The plan sets out the scope of the council’s ambitions, it details net zero and interim targets for a reduction on carbon emissions from council assets and operations and it indicates climate risks which affect the council and it outlines the projects priorities which will be taken forward between now and 2025.
“I think it’s safe to say that Aberdeen City Council has recognised the challenges of climate change and the need to reduce emissions and our administration is committed to ensuring we play an active role in the collective effort to reduce global emissions.
“I think it’s true to say we’ve been making progress over the past few years, our significant investment in hydrogen technology resulting in us securing two refuelling stations, a growing hydrogen bus fleet and an innovative energy centre at TECA.
“We’ve also reduced the council’s own footprint by rolling out LED lighting in our city streets and expanding the range of electric and hydrogen vehicles in our fleet.”
The motion was seconded by Aberdeen Liberal Democrat party leader Councillor Ian Yuill, and was also agreed by SNP Group leader in the city Councilllor Alex Nicoll.
Councilllor Yuill said: “I’m delighted to second her. I don’t disagree with a word she has said. She made some very important points which I hope the whole chamber will agree with.
“This is a really important motion.”
Councillor Nicoll added: “As with Councillor Yuill, I don’t disagree with what she’s saying, this is probably one of the most important issues facing our planet never mind city, never mind country, never mind Europe. This is a global issue that really takes the pandemic and puts it into perspective.”
Meanwhile, a process and timeline for delivering the updated school estate timeline in summer 2022 was also approved by councillors, as was an update on the Fairer Aberdeen Fund and how it was used in 2019/20.
Deputy Lord Provost Councillor Jennifer Stewart also brought forward a motion acknowledging that key workers such as those working for Police Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and teachers should be given the Covid-19 vaccination, for the key role they play, which was also approved.