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Region reveals green credentials

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By Fiona Reid
Region reveals green credentials

DUMFRIES and Galloway is the third largest contributor of renewable energy generation in Scotland.

The region contributed ten per cent of the total renewable energy generated in Scotland in 2018.

And this is significantly higher than the amount of electricity that the district consumes overall.

The position will be discussed at next week’s economy and resources committee in Dumfries, along with the council’s own carbon position.

The local authority’s direct emissions are 24 kt CO2e, which accounts for 0.7 per cent of the regional total. It comes from electricity use, heating fuels, fleet fuels and business travel.

It is noted, however, that the council generated 1.3 GWh electricity from solar PV installations in 2018, compared to sourcing 31.3 GWh from the electricity grid.

Meanwhile, land use and agriculture is revealed as the biggest source of emissions and described as ‘significantly higher’ than the region’s industry or residential emissions.

But it is recognised that rural Dumfries and Galloway is the home of Scotland’s third largest agricultural sector.

Report author, and the council’s environment manager, Simon Fieldhouse said: “The emissions for land use, whilst appearing high in comparison, do not account for the role and value that the agricultural sector currently supports and the role that they will continue to undertake to support the transition of the region to zero-carbon.

“It has been recognised that some sectors may never reach a net zero carbon status and, as such, as a region, we need to identify and collaboratively work with all partners to identify and prioritise actions that will support the ambitions of the council.

“Reducing livestock agriculture presents an easy fix to cutting regional emissions but would have significant consequences locally. Agriculture, forestry, and fisheries in the region provide 12 per cent of jobs and support 28 per cent of all businesses. This accounts to 12,000 jobs and with the sector set on inclusive job growth, it is a major driver of youth employment and attracting skilled people to come live in the region.”

Mr Fieldhouse stresses it is ‘essential that we consider the wider co-benefits of agriculture’, namely food production, biodiversity, job creation and community preservation, adding: “As such, it is essential that we take a holistic approach to tackling climate change. We recognise that food production is vital and should be valued, although there is recognition that the agricultural sectors must strive to do this as efficiently as possible.”

He also notes: “The region’s agricultural and land based industries have an important role to play to support our natural capital and enhance the region’s habitats which will support indirect carbon sequestration through better managed landscapes and habitats.”

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