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Progress is being made across services to decrease Falkirk Council’s carbon footprint according to the latest figures published this month.

Figures show a reduction of 4% in the amount of greenhouse gases we produce as an organisation between 2018/19 and 2019/20.

A number of reasons have contributed to the fall including: lower energy consumption; less fuel being used along with the wide scale introduction of electric pool cars; improved LED street lighting and that electricity is becoming greener. These areas reflect where some of the largest emission sources come from and are being prioritised to be tackled.

Many of these initiatives are linked to Council of the Future transformation projects.

Pandemic effect

The COVID-19 outbreak lockdown has also contributed towards a reduction with the total electricity consumed down 34% in April 2020 compared with the same period last year. The same can also be said for gas consumption with a similar decrease of 32% in the same period. Fuel consumption across the Council’s fleet of vehicles was down by 4% over the year.

Claire Marion, Energy and Climate Change officer said: “There is great work being done across all of Falkirk Council’s services to reduce the impact carbon emissions have on our environment.”

While the Council is now dealing with COVID-19 recovery, the climate crisis has not gone away.

Claire added: “We’ve seen benefits of a cleaner environment during lockdown, with many of us working from home, rediscovering cycling, growing their own food and taking more time to cook. There has been a huge rise in cycling everywhere in the UK and now is the time to continue these behaviours to build a fairer and greener future.”

Climate emergency

Recognising the seriousness of the climate crisis, Falkirk Council declared a Climate Emergency in the summer of 2019 and committed to achieving net zero emission by 2030. 

A cross-party members group has been established earlier this year to step up the pace and prioritize action. At their first meeting, Council leader Cecil Meiklejohn said: “Climate Change is not an “add-on”, it should be embedded at corporate level and in everything that we do, otherwise we’re not serious about it; we should focus on big things, let’s be aspirational.”

The report also highlights many of the Council’s properties as being major consumers of energy due to their age and layout. The energy costs for Falkirk’s Municipal Buildings coming in at circa £230k alone for a year.