Highland councillors enjoyed a rare moment of unity over spending money yesterday as they agreed to allocating £145,000 to fund various strands of work to tackle climate change.
In a ‘spend to save’ strategy, the money will be allocated to building on work already started across the council’s departments, and developing a framework to position Highland as a low CO2 region.
The councillors welcomed the notion that Highland could become a carbon sink for Scotland.
Councillor Denis Rixson said: “The people of Highland are crying out for us to do something and we can lead the UK in this ambition,” while councillor Emma Knox said: “We should be leading the way. £145,000 is a small ask to kick things off and will attract funding from external sources.”
Executive chief officer Malcolm MacLeod said the funds would support the employment of a climate change manager to lead the work, supported by a minimum of two officers.
He said: “Councillors have recognised the key challenges as well as the very real opportunities for the council in terms of addressing our climate and ecological emergency and our aspiration to reach a net zero Highland by 2025.
“By making these changes there is huge potential to lever in significant funds and reposition the Highlands as the low carbon centre for Scotland.”
Councillor Trish Robertson chairs the council’s new Climate Change panel.
She said: “It’s a first step.
“I welcome the support from across the chamber for this important step in the response to the climate and ecological emergency.”
From the funds, £10,000 will also be used to fund a climate seminar early next year.