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Climate / Report calls for greater support for councils in drive to reach net zero

SIC leader Emma Macdonald said ‘the scale of investment required to transition to a net zero community is challenging and we cannot do this alone’

“THE SCALE of investment required to transition to a net zero community is challenging and we cannot do this alone.”

That is the message from Shetland Islands Council leader Emma Macdonald following the publication of a Scottish Parliament committee report which called for greater support for local authorities in the push to net zero.

On Monday Holyrood’s net zero, energy and transport committee published its new report on the role local government will play in delivering a net zero Scotland.

The committee said that Scotland will not meet its ambitious target of being net zero by 2045 without a “more empowered local government sector”, with better access to the skills and capital it needs.

SIC political leader Emma Macdonald. Photo: Shetland News

Committee convener Edward Mountain said: “Over the course of almost a year of evidence-taking, it’s clear that unless key barriers facing local government are dealt with, we will not reach net zero by 2045.

“Local Government is the layer of democracy closest to communities. They have local knowledge and capacity to lead by example and are also uniquely well-placed to form the partnerships we’re going to need at a local and regional level.”

The challenge of Shetland reaching net zero was spelled out to councillors last year.

Officials warned that it is unlikely that Shetland will achieve net zero across all sectors by 2045 without an “overhaul” of the economy, land use and consumer habits.

This is due to Shetland’s geography and the signifiant portion of emissions that are associated with sectors difficult to electrify, such as marine vessels, or those not directly linked to energy consumption like land use and agriculture.

Responding to the parliament committee’s report, SIC leader Macdonald said: “I welcome that the Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee recognises the leadership that local councils are demonstrating in responding to the climate crisis.

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“The scale of investment required to transition to a net zero community is challenging and we cannot do this alone.

“For the committee to recognise the need for a Government-led investment strategy to develop co-funding models with private investors is particularly valuable.

“We are already playing our part in engaging our community about the scale of the challenge, so that everyone in Shetland can help shape and deliver Shetland’s net zero future.”

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