Angus Council’s leader has said the local authority is at the forefront of efforts to tackle the climate change emergency.
David Fairweather was speaking following criticism of the council in the wake of shock figures which revealed Angus is joint second in a table of the 32 local authorities in Scotland who still don’t believe climate change is happening.
Critics hit out following the Scottish Household Survey findings and said a lack of political leadership in Angus was partly to blame for the “ostrich-head-in-the-sand approach”.
However, council leader David Fairweather said the authority had been working hard for some time towards achieving its goal of becoming one of the top in Scotland in the fights against climate change.
The independent councillor said the council established a Carbon Reduction Member Officer Group (MOG) in 2011 which changed its name in 2016 to the Climate Change MOG.
“This is one of the few authorities in that time that has put climate change forward as an important agenda and puts this council at the forefront of the ‘climate change emergency’,” he said.
A Climate Change protester.
Mr Fairweather said examples of the work being done in Angus include the replacement of street lights with LED lamps which has brought about a 70% reduction in CO2 emissions.
And he said the shift from sending rubbish to landfill to energy from waste facilities has resulted in waste a 74% fall in CO2 emissions in 2018 in Angus compared with the previous year.
Neighbouring Aberdeenshire had the highest percentage of climate change deniers at 19%, while Perth and Kinross had 10% and Dundee and Fife were both on 7%.
Independent councillor Ian McLaren from the Climate Change MOG said he and colleagues were taking the issue “very seriously”.
He said: “The Climate Change Member Officers Group for Angus Council recognises the impact of climate change on life for now and for future generations.
“I do realise there are very challenging times to come, however I feel the group as a whole could not be more proactive in the work they do.”
He added: “Some of the work the group has achieved to date includes work on carbon reduction, including street lighting, in-house heating and improving recycling rates.
“The recycling centres upgrading is an excellent example of an area we have improved, which has enhanced the quality of life for Angus residents.”