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Source: Scotland – Highland Council

Highland Council is proud to be supporting Clean Air Day today (Thursday 8 October 2020) and the ways in which the local authority is working hard to tackle the climate emergency.

Clean Air Day is co-ordinated by Environmental Protection Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government.

The campaign aims to encourage people to try a low or zero polluting action; such as leaving the car at home and cycling to work, school or to the local shops.

It also asks people to consider purchasing an electric vehicle; not idle a vehicle engine while it is stationary and walk or cycle a less polluted side street.

Chair of the Highland Council’s Climate Change Working Group, Cllr Trish Robertson, said: “The Highland Council is delighted to be supporting Clean Air Day and I would encourage everyone to think about what they could do to reduce pollution.

“As Chair of the Climate Change Working Group I know how much work is going on in the background to help the local authority meet it’s responsibilities in terms of the climate & ecological emergency. This is crucial work and everyone has their part to play in shaping our future world.”

There are a number of workstreams currently ongoing within Highland Council to meet its commitment to climate change.

The Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategic Control Plan has seen workshops held with both officers and members to identify the vision values and focus areas for the EV infrastructure control plan.

The Highland Adapts initiative is a multi-agency project funded by three partners (Highland Council, SNH and NHS Highland, totalling £45K per year for at least two years) which will manage climate risks in the Highlands.

Another area of work is around Programme Alignment, which is ongoing liaison with contractors and workshops with staff to identify critical opportunities and gaps that need to be addressed, to ensure the Council is better positioned to secure low carbon funding identified in the Programme for Government.

Significant work has also been undertaken in collaboration with HIE (Highlands and Islands Enterprise), UHI (University of the Highlands and Islands) and the Council’s Eco Officer network to develop plans for roll-out of NUS’s Green Impact behaviour change tool.

The Climate Change Officer chaired and presented at the first online meeting of the Highland Environment Forum on 10 September, with the theme for the session being Climate Change in the Highlands: Opportunities for Large Scale Change. A second session was held on how nature can help reduce climate impacts.

Work is also at an advanced stage on the Highland Climate Change Conference which will be held virtually on Monday 2nd November. The conference will focus on four key themes: Biodiversity, Habitat Restoration & The Climate Emergency; Our Local, National and International Role; What Can Individuals Do, and What Support Is Available? and The Green Recovery.

Highland Council was also heavily involved in Climate Week workshops and is one of several partners funding the Flow Country World Heritage Site Project. This would see the possibility of Caithness and Sutherland becoming a World Heritage Site, first to the UK Government and then later to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation).

Caithness and Sutherland’s Flow Country lies at the heart of one of the largest areas of blanket bog in the world. This globally rare habitat includes a wide range of peatland vegetation, bog pools and of course many important bird species.

The Flow Country is considered the best habitat of its type, anywhere in the world. It is the quality and extent of the blanket bog habitat that gives this site outstanding universal value and justifies its current position on the UK’s tentative list for World Heritage Site status. 

MIL OSI United Kingdom