INVESTING in green energy sources and focusing on efficiency measures like insulation helped Shetland Islands Council make a “significant reduction” in its carbon emissions over the last financial year.
Chief executive Maggie Sandison told Monday’s environment and transport committee meeting that the reduction was the equivalent of taking 471 cars off the road.
A report presented to the committee said 25,805 tonnes of CO2 was emitted from council operations in 2017/18 – a reduction from 27,000 tonnes the previous year.
In 2015/16, that figure was 29,404 tonnes.
Sandison said after the meeting that the council’s carbon management plan focuses on efficiency measures like insulation and changing lightbulbs as well as using less energy.
“We’ve also focused on trying to switch the type energy we use,” she said.
“We’ve got two new wind turbines feeding the Gremista landfill, and also the Gremista site that the council works on. So what we’re doing is two things – one is reducing energy, and the second one is trying to use green energy sources.
“We’ve reduced our carbon emissions – it’s the equivalent of taking 471 cars off the road in a year. That’s a really significant reduction. Obviously the council has a bigger target than that, so we have to do more, but we’re on a good step forward for progress.
“The cost of energy goes up year on year, so at the same time as we’re driving down the amount we use, what we’re seeing is the amount we use costing more. So it’s a way of making savings across the council without cutting services. And obviously it’s really good for the environment.”
Environment and transport committee chairman Ryan Thomson paid tribute to the work of the council in reducing its emissions.
“It’s obviously something the SIC has been working on,” he said.
“I see the tonnes of CO2 from council operations has reduced by around about 1,200 over the course of the council year.
“Obviously there’s still work to be done, but I think it’s been a concerted effort across the board within the SIC and the figures reflect that.”