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Edinburgh Leads the Way in Climate Action: A Spotlight on the Council’s Achievement

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This week, on Wednesday, October 18th, the City of Edinburgh was declared the leading Scottish council in climate action by Climate Emergency UK.

The Council Climate Action Scorecards cover 7 sections, ask 91 questions, and were created in consultation with over 90 different organisations and key individuals. 

Collectively this provides some of the most in-depth analyses of climate action in UK local authorities to date.

With a total score of 58%, the City of Edinburgh Council ranks joint 4th overall in the UK, and 1st in Scotland. Edinburgh was also the only council outside of London which placed in the top six of the table.

Edinburgh scored highest in the sections for Collaboration & Engagement (78%), Planning & Land Use (70%) and Waste Reduction & Food (67%).

Disappointingly, only 41 of the UK’s 388 local and combined authorities scored above 50%, with the average score being just 32%.

The Council will use the Scorecards to understand where it can be bolder, and where it needs to make faster progress on climate action.

“Whilst I welcome this excellent news about Edinburgh’s ranking from Climate Emergency UK, we still have a long road ahead to reach our goal of Edinburgh becoming a net zero city by 2030 and addressing the other key challenges in our 2030 Climate Strategy.  

“It is important though that we highlight the good progress we’re making. From pioneering our sustainable active travel and public transport networks, to combatting food waste, and making our Council houses and buildings more energy efficient, alongside flagship projects like our Granton Waterfront net zero redevelopment, I’m inspired by what I see around the city.

“I’d add that in the next few months reports on our Council Emissions Reduction Plan (CERP) and progress on city-wide emissions, and delivery of our 2030 Climate Strategy will be heard at committee.

“I’m conscious that whilst local government has a key role to play in our just transition to net zero, but this must be done alongside wider society with coordination and cooperation alongside government, private sector, third sector and our citizens.

“This was underlined in January of this year, when the Scottish Parliament’s Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee stated clearly in their report that Scotland will not meet its climate targets without a more empowered local government sector, and the removal of key barriers facing not only our Council but many across the country.  

“We’re bold and ambitious in our approach and aims, but this is absolutely essential if we are to properly confront the climate emergency, which is undoubtedly the key existential challenge of our times”. 

Council Leader Cammy Day

“The low scores across the board shows that there are national barriers for local authorities that make it harder for most councils to deliver the necessary climate action.

A lack of funding and government policy U-turns are some of the barriers to effective local climate action.”

Climate Emergency UK Co-Director Annie Pickering

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