The council's Climate Change Declaration Report for 2020/21 highlights the continued efforts across the council in reducing the organisation's emissions and adapting to Climate Change. Each year, the council has to assess its performance against indicators and report back to the Scottish Government.
There are a number of performance indicators related to climate change, emissions reduction and waste related activities included as part of the council's report.
Part of the report address the council's corporate greenhouse gas emissions including targets, performance and actions to reduce emissions. The footprint for 2020/21 has been calculated to be 30,748 tCO2e, a significant decrease of 5,887 tonnes on the 2019/20 footprint and 30,313 tonnes reduction from our baseline year of 2013/14.
This has been achieved via a number of ways, such as reducing the amount of waste being sent to landfill, replacing street lighting with low energy LED equivalents and improving the energy efficiency of council buildings.
The report noted that whilst good progress continues to be made in implementing measures to reduce our emissions, the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly had an impact on the overall total and it is anticipated that the reductions attributed to this will not be repeated in 2021/22. Key contributors to covid related reductions include temporary building closures and a reduction in the numbers of staff working from council offices.
The council's Climate Change Strategy 2021-28 sets out a number of key actions to be taken forward in the coming years, including the publication of a Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan and Active Travel Plan in 2022. The council has also agreed to introduce Twin Stream recycling, planned for June 2022 in order to improve the quality and marketability of materials collected from households.
Leader of West Lothian Council, Lawrence Fitzpatrick said: "Tremendous progress has been made but there is much more to be done. We will not rest on our laurels and have agreed new targets to further reduce our emissions, reduce our carbon output and reduce waste.
"We cannot ignore the serious threat that climate change poses. This is a world-wide threat and we must all do what we can to tackle the issues which have been so clearly set out during COP26."