The City of Edinburgh Council has set an ambitious aim to make Edinburgh a carbon-neutral city by 2030.
Alongside this carbon target, which includes a ‘hard’ target of 2037, the city’s council has agreed to embark upon a three-phase approach to improve Edinburgh’s sustainability.
Recommendations on the city’s Sustainable Approach, drawn up by the city’s Corporate Policy and Strategy Committee, were accepted by councillors yesterday (Tuesday May 14).
Speaking at the cross-party meeting, council leader Adam McVey said: ‘Cities and towns all over the world are recognising the horrifying scale of the climate change challenge facing us all. We have to act and act fast.
‘We are quite clear the 2030 target should be the target adopted by everyone in the city – public, private sector and third sector. We can achieve a zero-carbon city by 2030 but we cannot afford for this to be delivered any later than 2037 so we have set this as an absolute limit on reaching this goal.’
Edinburgh is already on course to meet its current target of reducing its carbon emissions by 42% by 2020, having reduced its emissions by 33% already since 2005.
It is expected that Edinburgh will enjoy further emission reductions due to projects such as a new Low Emission Zone – set to come into force at the end of next year – and an expansion of its tram line to the city’s Newhaven district.
However, in its report, the City of Edinburgh council said that it believes it needs to do more to respond to the ‘sense of urgency’ regarding climate change and carbon emissions.
‘Our task as a whole council is to work cross party to tackle this together, along with our partner organisations across the city – we owe it to future generations to get this right,’ McVey said.
‘It’s a massive and definitely daunting piece of work so it needs a clear direction of travel if we’re to do this properly. I know we can achieve great things if we take an ambitious but realistic approach.’
Phase 1 of Edinburgh’s Sustainable Approach will look to make sure the council ‘consolidates and better co-ordinates’ its approach on sustainability and climate change.
The second phase will see the council looking for immediate improvements within its existing climate plan while developing its 2030 sustainability strategy with citizens and partners.
Once this is complete, Edinburgh will look to implement and deliver the plan in the final phase of its approach.
Edinburgh is currently one of the UK’s most trailblazing cities when it comes to setting sustainability and climate change goals.
Earlier this year the city agreed to significantly boost its electric vehicle charging infrastructure as it aims to install 211 on-street charging points by 2023.
Last week Edinburgh also became the first city to join the ‘Open Streets’ initiative as it will make parts of its city centre car-free on the first Sunday of every month.
The 18-month trial started this month with a small section of streets in the city’s Old Town and will gradually build in scale throughout the course of the trial.