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Time to act on climate emergency is right now, says Highland Council leader

By Val Sweeney

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Council leader Margaret Davidson.
Council leader Margaret Davidson.

Continued work to improve active travel routes through Inverness is part of an extensive programme taking place in the Highlands to tackle the climate and ecological emergency.

Major investment from the Scottish Government is also enabling the development of a publicly accessible electric vehicle infrastructure network across the Highlands with projects already under way and more planned.

The scale of work taking place was outlined to Highland councillors during an update on the council’s climate change project at the recovery, improvement and transformation board.

More funding is expected to be available in the future for low carbon, green initiatives.

The council intends to submit bids aligned with the principles of the Just Transition – which aims to ensure a fairer and greener Scotland – so it can reach its target for a carbon neutral region by 2025.

The council’s climate change working group also discussed a report on the Just Transition towards net zero and provided ideas on how the local authority could go about achieving these objectives in terms of resource, staffing, agriculture and transport.

During the meeting, members were able to begin taking forward the recommendation from the recovery, improvement and transformation board to have time scales and ownership considered and attached to key priorities.

Highland Council leader, Councillor Margaret Davidson, said: "As an organisation, along with our partners, it is critical that we move at pace with progressing this project in order to achieve our ambitious goals in offsetting climate change within Highland.

"The time to act is now."

Councillor Alasdair Christie, depute leader and chairman of the recovery, improvement and transformation board, said: "We recognise that elements of Highland Council’s budget will need to be directed towards the delivery of the outcomes needed, particularly to meet the agreed timescales.

"Adequate financial and staff resource will play a key role and put us on a much more solid footing in respect of the net zero agenda."

Related story: Highland Council releases almost £500k to tackle climate change

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