A comprehensive and ambitious plan to deliver a net zero, climate ready city by 2030, a healthier environment and a thriving, inclusive Capital has been approved by Councillors today.

The 2030 Climate Strategy for Edinburgh sets out a city-wide approach to reducing Edinburgh’s greenhouse gas emissions. It is supported by an implementation plan which outlines the deliverables, timescales, milestones and resources needed to achieve the city’s ambitious climate goals, along with an approach to measuring outcomes and impact.

When approving, Councillors recognised the need for the strategy to act as a working document, which will be updated and strengthened as technology evolves and climate actions are developed further.

Councillors also recognised that the Council is taking a leading role in co-creating a green, clean sustainable future for the City and ensuring a just transition to net zero, but that success will be dependent on joined up action across the whole city. The 2030 Climate Strategy provides a framework for a citywide effort, and calls upon residents, community groups, public, private and third sector organisations to work collaboratively to achieve the city’s ambitious climate goals.

The 2030 strategy follows significant engagement with the public, stakeholders and partners. Most recently a consultation over the summer of 2021, gathered more than 900 responses to draft proposals which showed overwhelming support for the strategy’s aims and vision.

The strategy is accompanied by an implementation plan which includes seven priority areas, 52 actions, 109 deliverables and 317 milestones.

Leader Councillor Adam Mcvey said:

“This ambitious and far-reaching strategy lays out how our businesses, public sector, organisations and residents across our communities, will work together to deliver climate action at the scale and pace we need to get to net-zero by 2030.

“Our commitment to cut Edinburgh’s greenhouse gas emissions and prepare the city for the impacts of climate change depends on a positive step-change in the way we act as a city – from the investments we make, the decisions we make around procurement, where we source produce to how our curriculum arms our young people with the facts and solutions around climate change.

“Our Capital has a track record of delivery, reducing emissions by 8% across the City in the last year alone and being ranked one of the 95 top Cities in the world for climate action. I am confident that acting together we can achieve our vision and do it in a way which delivers wider benefits for our citizens.

“Tackling climate change has a key role to play in improving residents’ quality of life – creating new jobs and building a fairer economy. By helping reduce fuel poverty and inequalities in the city, we can ensure a cleaner, greener future for the people who live and work in our city.”

Depute leader Councillor Cammy Day added:

“This comprehensive climate strategy and accompanying implementation plan have been years in the making and takes into account the needs and views of lots of different members of society, from individuals to families, communities, businesses and private organisations.

“This strategy is an opportunity for Edinburgh to lead the way in taking bold action to tackle climate change and reduce the impact of harmful greenhouse gasses for future generations.

“I want to thank the many of residents, businesses and organisations who have taken the time to feed into the document. Their feedback and suggestions have been hugely valuable and helped ensure this is a stronger strategy.”

The strategy highlights six of the most impactful actions contributing to the net zero target

  1. Unlocking and accelerating energy efficiency in homes and buildings;
  2. Enabling the development of a citywide programme of heat and energy generation and distribution infrastructure;
  3. Accelerating the decarbonisation of public transport;
  4. Renewing the focus on climate resilience and accelerating adaptation of the city;
  5. Supporting citizen empowerment, behaviour change and community activism; and
  6. Supporting business transition and the green economy.

It also includes commitments on:

  • Collaborating with Scottish Government to develop a green investment pipeline for the city;
  • Developing investment strategies to support the city’s transition to clean energy and energy efficient buildings, a low carbon economy, net zero transport infrastructure, and to adapt the city to be resilient to future climate change;
  • Developing joined-up approaches to sustainable public sector procurement to reduce scope 3 emissions;
  • Developing innovative approaches to net zero development which address both operational and embodied emissions;
  • Calling on Scottish and UK governments to act on aviation emissions in line with the Paris agreement, and ensure the national transport infrastructure supports sustainable public transport;
  • Managing and enhancing Edinburgh’s natural capital (including on and around the city’s public sector estate);
  • Increasing the proportion of the City’s food and drink sourced from local and regional supplies;
  • Strengthening the focus on climate change within our curriculum and enhancing the contribution of the learning estate to the city’s net zero target;
  • Collaborating with the NHS and HE/FE institutes to ensure shared data and research drives decision-making and innovation on climate action;
  • Developing sustainable models of public services interventions which deliver improved environmental and population health outcomes; and
  • Developing a timeframe for agreeing an approach to offsetting.

The strategy will be launched in mid-December subject to the agreement of Edinburgh Partnership Board to its role in the proposed governance arrangements. Environmental impact work is also already underway and due to be brought back to Council, along with any changes to the strategy, for consideration in 2022.

The strategy and implementation plans are living documents that will evolve with our learning, technology and legal powers. Progress on the city target will be reported annually.