Fife Council well on its way to creating a low carbon economy

New report reveals progress in meeting 2020 climate change targets 

Fife Council has already achieved 88% of the carbon emission cuts needed to meet its 2020 target, according to a new report.
The local authority is well on its way to meeting its duties under the Climate Change (Scotland) Act, the report – which is set to be submitted to the Executive Committee for approval and sign off tomorrow (Tuesday, 15 November) – has revealed.
Continued effort and resources are essential, however, to both make the shift to a clean, low carbon economy and achieve national targets, finds The Council’s Public Bodies (Climate Change) Duties Report 2015-16, which has been compiled by Fife Resource Solutions (FRS), a Fife Council “arms length” organisation.
The report details the Council’s carbon footprint and the progress made in cutting emissions and adapting services and assets to cope with the physical impacts of climate change.
It’s will also provide its Executive Committee with an update on plans, projects and innovations to reduce carbon emissions and tackle climate change.
Cllr John Wincott, Fife Council’s spokesperson for environment and transportation, said:“Fife Council is working hard to reduce emissions that cause climate change, and the impact that these have locally, regionally, and globally. We’re scaling-up renewable energy and green infrastructure, and Fife is pioneering world-class best practice in accelerating a low-carbon economy.
“While the Council’s direct footprint only represents 3% of Fife’s total carbon emissions, through our policies, projects and service delivery we have an influence on over 40% of the Kingdom’s total carbon footprint. In turn, we are working with partner organisations to rethink the entire energy landscape, which requires rigorous planning and inclusive decision-making.”
Fife Council has a range of schemes and projects to reduce the Kingdom’s carbon emissions. The total direct carbon footprint for 2015-16 was 88,966 tCO2e (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent), which is the Council’s lowest footprint on record.  2015-16 also saw a 4.78% reduction in its carbon footprint from the previous year which is its biggest ever annual reduction.
Notable trends include:
  • Emissions from building energy consumption fell by 4.21%, and emissions from infrastructure energy (street lighting) consumption fell by 9.9%.
  • The majority of Fife Council’s carbon emissions (67%) come from heating, powering and lighting buildings.
  • Carbon emission reduction projects, including energy efficiency improvements, such as the installation of biomass heating systems in schools and Council office buildings, the rolling out of LED streetlighting, a reduction in the number of servers at our datacentres, and a roll out of electric vehicles, have helped to cut the carbon footprint.
Projects set to reduce Fife’s carbon footprint by a further 11,849 tonnes of CO2e per year over 2016-17 include:
  • Commissioning of the Lower Melville Wood wind turbine near Ladybank.
  • Installation of five combined heat and power units at large energy consuming buildings (such as leisure centres).
  • Continuation of the Council’s Energy Programme to improve energy efficiency of buildings.
  • Extension of Light Fife Green, which is renewing Fife’s streetlighting with low energy technologies such as LEDs.
The Dunfermline Community Energy Scheme, thanks to the Scottish Government’s Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP) pathfinder fund, will improve the energy efficiency of three schools, a community centre, Dunfermline Business Centre, social housing and extend the Dunfermline district heating network.
Fife Council is also considering how best to adapt Fife to the physical changes projected to result from climate change. Ongoing climate change adaptation-focused projects include:
  • Working closely with SEPA and the Scottish Government on the ‘Scotland’s Dynamic Coast’ project,to support more sustainable coastal and land planning decisions.
  • Procuring two hydrogen / diesel hybrid refuse collection vehicles in 2016 – the first of their kind anywhere in the world.
Fife Council is also working with communities, organisations and businesses across Fife to cut Fife-wide carbon emissions.
Projects include:
  • The Glenrothes District Heating scheme, which is proposing to make use of the waste heat from the biomass combined heat and power(CHP) plant at Markinch to provide networked heat to local homes, Council buildings and businesses.
  • 21 free electric vehicle (EV) charging points being made available Fife-wide. This expansion means that there are now more EV charging points in Fife than there are filling stations.
  • The Levenmouth Community Energy project, which is set to become an exemplar project in hydrogen electrolysis using renewable energy, smart grid technologies and hydrogen vehicle fuelling.
To meet the current Government emission reduction target of 42% reduction (of 1990 greenhouse gas emission levels) by 2020, the Council’s carbon footprint needs to fall by a further 7,249 tonnes to 81,716 tCO2e per year by the end of 2020. It is also likely that the Scottish Government is preparing to increase the 2020 target to a reduction of at least 50%.
Cllr Wincott added: “Our ability to meet the Scottish Government’s emission reduction targets is dependent not just on investment, procurement and operational decisions undertaken by Fife Council, external factors will also heavily influence our performance, for example, any increase in fossil fuel use in the national grid increases Fife Council’s carbon footprint proportionally.”
The report is set to be submitted to the Scottish Government by 30 November 2016.
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