I’ve recently been on a nationwide tour with my colleagues as we sought to increase understanding of the actions that we all need to take to help the country get to Net Zero.
When we took our ‘Road to Net Zero Roadshow’ around the different regions, we focused very much on the local area, trying to increase understanding of what the Net Zero plans of each region, and each local authority, meant for consultants, contractors and corporate customers.
Our tour covered Manchester, Birmingham, London, Leeds, Scotland, and the Southwest around Bristol, and we deliberately looked at the key local authorities in those areas.
Of all the regions of the UK, Scotland perhaps typifies the challenges of trying to find one solution for very different local authorities as large parts of the country are rural, but the focus is often on the central belt that encompasses Glasgow and Edinburgh – two huge conurbations.
At the time of presenting our Roadshow in May, 20 out of 32 local Scottish authorities had declared a climate emergency As presented on their website..
The Scottish Government had already consulted on a draft Order that would place a duty on all Scottish local authorities to produce Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies and Delivery Plans (LHEES) by 31 December 2023.
The plan is for these to be reviewed and renewed on a 5-yearly cycle, in line with guidance to be provided by Scottish Ministers.
Thankfully, low-carbon and sustainable, renewable solutions already exist.
For the Scottish leg, we focused slightly on Edinburgh but looked predominantly into the plans for Glasgow.
The City of Edinburgh Council declared a climate emergency, established an independent Climate Commission and set a target for the city to be net zero by 2030.
The authority set out its plans, including the projected cumulative investment required, in its 2030 Climate Strategy – Delivering a Net Zero Climate Ready Edinburgh.
Along with the publication of ‘A Net-Zero carbon roadmap for Edinburgh’
2030 is really not that far away, as I have identified in previous posts on other regions.
So, the plans for each local authority that has set such an ambitious target, focus entirely on what they can achieve themselves, looking at the public and commercial buildings controlled by, or under the direct influence of the authority.
Beyond their immediate remit, all local authorities such as Edinburgh, are dependent on both what Central Government is planning and directing, whether that comes from Holyrood, or Westminster. They are also reliant on an understanding of what their neighbouring authorities are doing.
When I was researching Glasgow City Council, I found it interesting that the name of the city is derived from the Gaelic word Glaschu, which can be translated as “dear green place”.
It’s perhaps no surprise therefore that Glasgow intends to bring forward a finalised LHEES as part of its Environment, Sustainability and Carbon Reduction (ESCR) plan later this summer, which is far earlier than the proposed mandated date of 2023 by the Scottish Government on the production of LHEES.
The previous Glasgow Climate Action Plan, published in June 2021, stated that: “One tonne of CO2 has a persistence of around 100 years in the atmosphere, so a tonne of CO2 saved now is worth 100 times a tonne of CO2 saved a century later.”
That is why the council committed to achieving Net Zero carbon emissions by 2030.
When we dig further into the plans and strategies for Glasgow, we can see four distinct levels
- For individual buildings the City Development Plan (CDP) includes 10 topic-based policies, which are supported by supplementary guidance which provides further details.
This then shows three types of development and land uses:
- Small local areas (Masterplans) Masterplans will focus on specific areas such as Health hand Educational campuses. Describes in detail how development will work on the ground in a specific location.
- Key identity areas (LDF) Local Development Frameworks will be prepared to guide development at neighbourhood level.
- Large priority areas (SDF) Strategic Development Frameworks will cover large areas of the City, which span beyond neighbourhood level.
Five main themes
The Climate Action Plan for Glasgow has five main themes for the declared climate emergency. These cover: Communication and community empowerment; making the city a just and inclusive place; developing a well-connected and thriving city; looking at health and wellbeing; and developing plans for a green recovery.
To implement these themes, the Council has set out a route map towards Net Zero.
This sets 2023 as the year that Glasgow implements the ‘Gold Hybrid +20% for Low or Zero Carbon Technologies (LZCT)’ or better for all new non-domestic buildings, which calls for a 38% lower BER versus the TER.
In 2024, Glasgow will implement an annual iterative review of its climate plan, and by 2025, Glasgow will ban gas heating in all new buildings within the city boundary.
Glasgow, like many other local authorities is doing what it can, within its own sphere of influence to deliver equitable, net zero carbon, climate-resilient living by 2030.
As part of this, the Glasgow Green Deal will look to:
- Eliminate poverty and maximise inclusion and equality.
- Create prosperity, sustainable jobs and high-quality places.
- Reduce emissions and build climate resilience.
To understand the costs of achieving this, the Council has tried to put figures on the work that needs to be done, with £17bn earmarked for increasing energy efficiency in the commercial and industrial sectors and £7bn targeting energy efficiency in the domestic sector,
Together these two areas account for 55.8% and 22.9% respectively of the budget required.
This clearly demonstrates where society’s priorities should lie.
We need to find ways to remove ways to remove direct use of fossil fuels and reduce overall energy consumption in commercial buildings
Thankfully, this is an area where low-carbon and sustainable, renewable solutions already exist.
If you’d like to know more, come and talk to us.
Chris Newman is Zero Carbon Design Team Manager