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'Green recovery' depends on Highland Council hitting Scottish Government climate change targets, councillors hear

By Alasdair Fraser

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Malcolm MacLeod.
Malcolm MacLeod.

Highland Council must achieve ambitious Scottish Government targets for tackling climate change, its recovery board heard yesterday.

Malcolm MacLeod, the council’s executive chief officer for infrastructure and environment, gave members an update on the council’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.

Last month, the Scottish Government updated Scotland’s 2018-2032 climate change plan which sets out its approach to delivering a green recovery.

Mr MacLeod said: “Our response to climate change isn’t just about one team driving it forward, it is about the Council as a whole, working with partners to make progress on areas such as renewable energy generation and the need for us to benefit directly from supply chain activity.

“We are also driving forward our own projects. Last week we announced news on the Ness hydro scheme.

“This project is due to start this year and shows the benefits of using renewable energy directly into our own buildings."

Highland Council has begun detailed design works on a major £2.5 million energy project at a site on the River Ness, part-funded by the Scottish Government through Salix Finance. The project has the potential to save up to 1,420 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year to help meet climate and ecological emergency targets.

Chair of the recovery board Cllr Alasdair Christie said: “It was great to hear an update on how we are working to tackle climate change and the projects which are currently underway.

Councillor Alasdair Christie.
Councillor Alasdair Christie.

“We heard that the Scottish Government has set ambitious targets for Scotland, so our work must align with the progress happening at a national level.

“Climate change is an important focus for the recovery board as we must continue to discuss how the Highlands’ green recovery will positively impact our local communities in the future.

“I am looking forward to further updates from the team and the council’s climate change working group.”

Two reports are to be presented to the working group on Friday.

One will look at landscapes as carbon sinks and the other will set out a new approach on funding bids.

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