Aberdeenshire Council plans to spend £100,000 on a consultancy to help it reduce its carbon emissions by 75% by 2030.
In March last year, the local authority agreed a “climate change declaration” as part of its efforts to help Aberdeenshire reach the ambitious goal of net zero emissions by 2045.
As part of this declaration, the council has committed to cutting its carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions by 75% lower than the 2010/11 baseline by the year 2030.
To reach this target, which the council said could have “potentially significant” impact on its finances, the authority plans to use £100,000 on a consultancy to “support and up-skill” Aberdeenshire Council officers, to plot a “Road Map to 2030”.
This “Road Map” would see the council fully integrating its carbon budget with its financial budgets, something it has never done before.
By combining the budgets, the council would be able to “fully understand the financial impact” of its 2030 goals.
Understanding the financial impact
Since 2017, the authority has set an annual carbon budget to help reduce its impact on the planet, however Councillor Martin Ford, of the Democratic Independent and Green Group, said the approach must change as soon as possible.
Mr Ford called the 2030 “road map” plan “absolutely necessary”, as he argued the council currently has no plans set in concrete of precisely how it will reduce emissions by 75%.
He said: “Right now, the council does not know how it will achieve what it has committed to doing in terms of emissions reduction.
“Nor does it know how much the measures needed will cost.
“But 2030 is only eight and a bit years away.
“The approach to carbon emissions reduction to date — essentially a series of projects brought together as an annual carbon budget — has helped the council make good progress at cutting its emissions.
“But continuing with the approach taken thus far is not going to get the council to a 75 per cent cut in emissions by 2030.
“There are simply not enough projects left of the kind that have made up the carbon budget so far to achieve the reduction sought.
“A different, more strategic, approach is needed based on larger-scale multi-year initiatives — with a clear understanding of the relative costs/benefits of different carbon abatement measures.”
He added: “Without a clear, costed plan the Council has no realistic prospect of meeting the targets it has agreed to.”
Net Zero by 2045
The Scottish Government has set a target of reducing the country’s emissions to net zero by the year 2045.
And this November, Glasgow will host the COP26 Climate Change Conference.
Conservative councillor Iain Taylor, chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s sustainability committee, said: “We already have national targets to 2030 and 2045, which the council has aligned itself to through its climate change declaration.
“Now it is a case of demonstrating and understanding the detail behind these targets with actions showing their effect upon the carbon budget, revenue budget and capital budget.
“The council has already agreed an expenditure to use outside consultancies to support this effort and the forthcoming meeting will detail an indicative plan and timetable of significant events which this contract will be expected to meet.”