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New climate change targets agreed

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
New climate change targets agreed

THIS region must not take its eye off the ball in tackling climate change simply because environmental targets have now been pushed back, a councillor has argued.

After Dumfries and Galloway Council agreed to delay the region’s net zero ambitions by 15 years, switching from 2025 to 2040, Councillor Dougie Campbell expressed concern about “losing momentum” in reducing carbon emissions.

The Dee and Glenkens Councillor was the council’s environment spokesperson back in 2019 when the local authority declared a climate emergency declaration and established a working group to tackle climate change in this region.

An ambitious, but ultimately unrealistic, target of the region achieving net zero emissions by 2025 was set. However, the task has proved much more complicated than expected.

Speaking at the full council meeting, he said: “In terms of the 2025 date, I think it was based on the information we had at the time. It did appear that, while it was very ambitious, it was achievable.

“However, a lot has changed since then. We’ve had the pandemic, also the war in Ukraine, and cost of living crisis.

“I fully support adjusting the dates. I’m a bit concerned about us losing some momentum and certainly the 2025 date did provide that momentum.”

Councillors agreed to setting two new net-zero targets – one for the council and one area-wide.

Now, a 75 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2027, and a 90 per cent reduction by 2031, are checkpoint dates.

Dumfries and Galloway Council then plans on becoming a carbon neutral organisation by 2033, while the region should achieve this target by 2040.

Annandale East and Eskdale Councillor Archie Dryburgh said: “I think the 2025 target was absolutely correct to focus the mind on what we could do within it. And there’s been a lot of good work in the council, especially in the facilities management team in schools etc.

“I’m happy to go with the recommendation – making sure we have a council target, and then we have a regional target too.”

Mid and Upper Nithsdale Councillor Tony Berretti said: “We have actually made over a 50 percent reduction, which is tremendously good considering what’s happened in the last three or four years.”


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