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Highland Carbon CLEVER vision and action plan approved

14th March 2014

An action plan and vision of what a low carbon Highlands would be like by 2025 was welcomed by members of The Highland Council - Thursday 13 March 2014. The vision supports an earlier statement of Inverness as a Carbon CLEVER City by 2025 which was recently approved by the Council’s City of Inverness Area Committee on 4 March 2014.

Members endorsed the vision statement of a low carbon Highlands which states:

“By 2025, the Highlands will be a region where its residents and visitors can move around easily by low carbon and sustainable forms of transport. The region is well connected both in terms of transport links and through digital connectivity. Buildings across the region will have been energy renovated, and new buildings are energy efficient. The growing majority of buildings in rural areas will be heated by renewable sources. Electricity will be generated from a range of renewable sources, and excess energy can be transmitted to surrounding regions through smart grids, or stored efficiently. Land and resources across the Highlands are utilised for optimal economic, social, and environmental gains. Communities across the region are engaged, are highly active, more healthy and empowered.”

Support was also given to the development of a Carbon CLEVER strategy and action plan focussing on five themes: Economy; Energy; Land Use and Resources; Transport; and Engagement Strategy.

Members also gave their backing for a second Carbon CLEVER conference to be held in November 2014 following the success of the inaugural conference held in Highland Council’s headquarters in November 2013 which attracted 100 delegates from a wide range of organisations.

Leader of The Highland Council Councillor Drew Hendry said: “We have to tackle carbon use and the Carbon CLEVER Programme and Action Plan is about delivering real things for our communities, by providing a healthier, safer and more prosperous and active environment for us to live in.

“A key part of this is providing a healthier place for our young people by tackling some of the challenges we have across the Highlands to ensure they have the right start in life.

“Carbon CLEVER is also about doing practical things for people across the Highlands and the low carbon Highlands Declaration aims to give us greater access to inward investment support from Scotland, the UK and Europe. Carbon CLEVER touches virtually every aspect of our lives and Services running deep across the Council. The Carbon CLEVER Action Plan gives us a backbone which will be reactive and proactive across the Highlands – positively seeking opportunities as we go forwards.

Councillor Hendry added: “Cycling is important in our plans but is just the first step forwards as we seek to advance better public transport plans in Highland. We have to look at better transport and interconnectivity supporting rural economies as well as urban across the Highlands. There isn’t a single Highland community - urban or rural - that cannot benefit from the Carbon CLEVER Action Plan.”

The vision statement and Action Plan are key steps the Council is taking towards meeting the Council’s commitment to create a Carbon Neutral Inverness in a Low Carbon Highlands by 2025. The Council is working with Highland businesses, organisations and Home Energy Scotland to launch the Carbon CLEVER Declaration in April this year to take action to reduce carbon emissions.

Some of the key projects already in motion are the development of cycling routes for Inverness (the first on Millburn Road); Carbon CLEVER Cycles - an electric bicycle hire scheme in Inverness; and sponsorship of the Etape Loch Ness cycling event.

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