Aberdeenshire councillors have today agreed a ground-breaking Carbon Budget.

The new approach, approved by councillors at Full Council today (9th February), will encourage the whole council to fundamentally consider how it is run and the resulting carbon implications.

Aberdeenshire is the first local authority in Scotland to implement such a budget.

Each of the four council services will be allocated an annual carbon total which they must bear in mind in everything they do. That total will be reduced year on year to meet strict national carbon targets. The carbon budget relates to the council’s own emissions.

For 2017/18 the council will need to reduce emissions by 5% (compared to the 2014/15 baseline). This will have an impact on how decisions need to be made, such as buying goods and services, the operation of council buildings, buying and disposing of fleet and business mileage, among other things.

In order to achieve significant progress, day to day operations will need to change to become more energy efficient, with each service being held accountable for their emissions. Some of the projects approved by Full Council today include completion of work to ensure energy efficient street lighting, an eco-driving training programme for staff who regularly drive for work, and a waste recycling and landfill reduction programme across the whole council.

The value of the insight that font-line staff can bring is praised in the report, described in the report as valuable when it comes to addressing the challenges of reducing emissions whilst protecting services.

During the meeting, cllrs supported the approach towards mitigating against climate change more generally, as well as addressing some of the climate change impacts already being demonstrated in the North east of Scotland. The discussion comes hot on the heels of the council being accredited, just this week, as a “Super Local Authority” by WWF Scotland for its ongoing support of Earth Hour.

Co-leader of Aberdeenshire Council Cllr Alison Evison said: “This is an exciting opportunity to dramatically rethink the way that we deliver services. This is going to require a change at every level in the council and is a chance to be truly innovative in how we balance the needs of services and residents with our climate change obligations.”

Councillor Isobel Davidson, chair of the Sustainability Subcommittee, said: “I am delighted that Aberdeenshire Council have been able to be at the forefront of this positive change, leading the way amongst Scottish local authorities. It sends out a very clear message that we take sustainability as seriously as our residents do. This is an issue we cannot afford to disregard and I am pleased that my colleagues agreed with the direction we are taking.”

The Carbon Budget was agreed by councillors.