Click to listen

Public performance reports

Sustainable development

The Council Plan Connect, outlines our objectives for 2017-22.  Connect ambitions and objectives should not be seen in isolation, they interact with each other and as we achieve success in one, we move closer to success in others.  In delivering our vision to ‘improve the quality of life of everyone in South Lanarkshire’ our ambitions show how our work links with our partners including our Community Planning Partners. 

Each year we produce an Annual Performance Report which details how we have performed in achieving our Connect objectives. To complement the Annual Performance Report we have created a suite of individual Public Performance Reports which focus on key areas of council business.  This report outlines the performance of our sustainable development service and how this links to the outcomes of our ambition to ‘Make communities safer, stronger and sustainable'.

Sustainable development

The council is expected to contribute to the Scottish Government’s plan to create a low carbon economy and achieve national greenhouse gas reduction targets of 42% by 2020 and 80% by 2050.  The council can contribute to this transformation to a low carbon economy through policies and regulatory powers in areas such as waste management, housing strategy, development planning, local transport planning, countryside management, air quality and environmental protection.  The council also has duties via the built environment, roads, and flood risk, to ensure that the infrastructure on which we depend is able to cope with expected changes in the climate.

For more detailed information, you may want to read our Sustainable Development and Climate Change Strategy 2017-2022.

Greenhouse gas emissions

South Lanarkshire Council's greenhouse gas emissions (tonnes) – Target - 2% reduction compared to the previous year (target reduction of 2,405 tonnes)

What this means This indicator measures the council's greenhouse gas emissions from five main sources: the energy used in our buildings, household waste, fuel consumption from our fleet, energy from our street lighting and our staff travel. To determine our carbon tonnage for each source we use conversion factors published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
Why this matters This indicator shows how successful the council has been in reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 Are we improving?
SLC 125,202 120,276 110,894 Yes
Scotland N/A N/A N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service

 The council’s overall emissions reduced in 2016-17 by 7.8% compared with the previous year.  This is higher than the target 2% reduction.  Emissions reduced by 28.9% when compared with the original baseline of 2005-06, and by 21.5% since the new baseline set in 2010-11.

Almost half of our emissions come from the energy used in our buildings, so the weather has a significant impact on our consumption.  Many projects and initiatives have been implemented over the last few years which have greatly reduced the impact of the weather, like the installation of renewable technologies in a number of our properties, including combined heat and power units and voltage optimisers.  The council's Carbon Management Plan provides further details of these, and many more projects and initiatives.

Recent articles in The Reporter, the council magazine distributed to all households, illustrate that the council publishes relevant information and that we respond to sustainability issues:

South Lanarkshire area-wide greenhouse gas emissions (kilotonnes) – Target - to reduce gas emissions

What this means

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) provides carbon emission data for all local authority areas throughout the UK.  This indicator shows the greenhouse gas emissions that fall within the scope of influence of local authorities.  It includes industry, domestic and transport sectors.  It excludes certain emissions that local authorities are unable to directly influence for example, motorways, EU emissions trading system sites, diesel railways, land use, land use change and forestry.  Due to the complexity of gathering this information, figures are reported two years behind.  The 2016 figures will be released later in 2018.

Why this matters This indicator shows how successful the council has been in reducing gas emissions in the South Lanarkshire area.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2013 2014 2015 Are we improving?
SLC 1,683.9


1,482.4 Yes
Scotland 34,710.7 30,585.1 29,616.4
How we have performed in improving this public service

The area-wide emissions in 2015 were lower in South Lanarkshire compared to the previous year, despite the growing population in the area. Overall emissions have reduced by 27.8% in 2015 when compared with the baseline in 2005.  This is better than the 27.3% reduction for Scotland as a whole over the same period.

South Lanarkshire per capita (per person) carbon emissions (tonnes) – No target set
What this means This indicator allows for comparison against other local authority areas.  The per capita carbon emissions figures, which are provided by Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), show how many tonnes of carbon are emitted per person based on the population for each of the areas.  The table below shows the amount per capita emissions for South Lanarkshire and for our family group comparative authorities.
Why this matters This indicator shows how successful the council has been in reducing carbon emissions in the South Lanarkshire area, per person.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2013  2014 2015 Are we improving?
South Lanarkshire 5.3 4.7 4.7 Yes
Angus 7.0 6.4 6.1
Clackmannanshire 8.2 7.1 6.8
East Renfrewshire 4.6 4.2 4.0
Inverclyde 5.4 4.7 4.5
Midlothian 5.7 5.1 4.9
Renfrewshire 6.5 5.3 5.2
West Lothian 6.2 5.3 5.0
Scotland 6.5 5.7 5.5
How we have performed in improving this public service In 2015, the per capita emissions were the same in South Lanarkshire when compared with the previous year.  Carbon emissions were almost 1.0 tonnes per head lower than the Scottish average, as well as being lower than the majority of the authorities in the family group. 

See the article in The View Spring 2017 : Eco Warriors mean business (page 4) and advert inThe Reporter Spring 2017 : I Walk Because (page 2) and the article Taking carbon emissions to task (page 24)

Energy consumption

Energy consumption in South Lanarkshire Council buildings - Target is to reduce energy consumption in 2016-17 through effective energy management and investment

What this means

The energy used in our buildings is responsible for around 56,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year.  Energy efficiency measures are applied across the estate (all our buildings) to reduce our energy consumption and in turn, reduce our carbon emissions, thereby contributing to national greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Why this matters This indicator shows the percentage reduction in carbon emissions from the council's energy consumption across the energy portfolio, demonstrating the council's progress on energy efficiency.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 Are we improving?
SLC Reduced by 7.8% Reduced by 1.1% Reduced by 4.9% Yes
Scotland N/A N/A N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service

In 2016-17, we met our target of reducing energy consumption in our buildings.  As outlined in the table above on carbon emissions (‘South Lanarkshire Council’s greenhouse gas emissions’), the weather had a significant impact on our energy consumption. However, energy reduction projects and initiatives have been successfully implemented over the last few years which have also greatly contributed towards improving the council’s energy, cost and carbon efficiency.

Reduction of waste

Domestic waste is our second largest source of carbon emission. The indicator below relates to Scotland's zero waste plan, which contains a range of targets designed to assist the Scottish Government achieve its vision of a zero waste society.  This includes a long term target of recycling 70% of all Scotland’s waste by 2025.

Recycling and composting of waste

Percentage of total waste recycled – Target is 70% by 2025 
What this means This indicator shows the percentage of household waste that is recycled and composted during the year (the council is working towards meeting the national recycling target of 70% by 2025). Household waste includes household bin collections, other household collections such as bulky uplifts, and waste deposited by people at household waste recycling centres and recycling points/bring banks.   The table also shows the results of our family group of comparator authorities, identified through the Local Government Benchmarking Framework (LGBF). 
Why this matters Councils have ecological targets for reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill.  This indicator shows us to what extent South Lanarkshire Council is meeting its targets.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 Are we improving?
South Lanarkshire 45.0% 48.9% 52.9% Yes
Angus 52.4% 59.2% 56.7%
Clackmannanshire 55.7% 48.1% 56.5%
East Renfrewshire 56.1% 56.4% 60.8%
Inverclyde 56.8% 54.7% 53.4%
Midlothian 46.9% 47.9% 53.5%
Renfrewshire 46.6% 43.9% 48.5%
West Lothian 45.9% 47.4% 48.5%
Scotland 42.8% 44.2% 45.2%
How we have performed in improving this public service The percentage of total waste that was recycled in South Lanarkshire increased in 2016-17 and is higher than the Scottish average.  This was achieved through the introduction of improved kerbside recycling services such as the food and garden waste collection service.

See Waste Management Public Performance Report.


Council wide transport emissions - Target is to deliver a 10% reduction in vehicle emissions by March 2021 to a baseline of 9,511 tonnes in 2015-16

What this means

Fuel consumption from our fleet is responsible for around 9,000 tonnes of our measured carbon emissions each year.  This indicator shows how well the council is doing in terms of contributing to a reduction in council-wide transport emissions.

Why this matters This indicator matters because it measures whether we are on course to meet the overall Scottish Government ambition for almost complete decarbonisation of road transport by 2050.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 Are we improving?
SLC n/a due to the new target n/a due to the new target Reduced by 3.8% Yes
Scotland N/A N|A N|A
How we have performed in improving this public service

There was a significant reduction in transport emissions in 2016-17 compared with 2015-16.  Emissions have reduced by 12.2% since the original baseline of 2005-06.

See the article in The View Spring 2017 : First major transport project of City Deal (page 7) and article in The Reporter Spring 2017 :New road first major project of City Deal

Customer satisfaction

Our Household Survey in 2014 showed that 73% of the respondents rated the council's actions regarding climate change as either 'excellent' or 'good'.


Biodiversity, short for biological diversity, is the term used to describe the variety of life in the environment.  All local authorities have a duty to further the conservation of biodiversity.  The council's Biodiversity Duty Implementation Plan outlines our commitment to supporting biodiversity, from simple direct actions like the introduction of new wildflower initiatives, through to educating others and raising awareness by providing training to volunteers on identifying non Scottish (invasive) plants. 

Sustainable development in Education

Sustainable Development is ‘development which meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs’.  Our young people in schools and nurseries are the future generation and they champion sustainable development.

We work closely with schools to link sustainable development to the experiences and outcomes within the Curriculum for Excellence across a wide spectrum of the curriculum, including maths, science and social sciences.

100% of our schools have registered for the Eco Schools programme.  The aim of this programme is to make environmental awareness and action an intrinsic part of the life and ethos of the school for both pupils and for staff and to engage the wider community.  55% of schools registered have achieved green flag status.  Young people in South Lanarkshire are very aware of their environmental responsibilities and share what they have learned with their parents.

Areas for improvement and action

We will take forward the following key areas for improvement:

  • continue to improve the council’s compliance with public sector climate change duties, including annual statutory reporting, and the implementation of the Climate Change and Sustainable Development Strategy

Further information

  • Climatic factors in South Lanarkshire are also reported in South Lanarkshire's State of the Environment report.  This report states that carbon emissions continue to decrease in South Lanarkshire and remain below the national average. Household energy consumption also decreased but is above the Scottish average. The area’s renewable capacity continues to significantly increase.  We are also developing the State of the Environment Report to make it accessible to teachers, pupils and parents as an educational resource within ‘Glow’ - the schools intranet platform.
  • We have reported our climate change and sustainability actions annually since signing Scotland’s Climate Change Declaration in 2007.  The Climate Change Duties 2017 Summary Report has now been published.

Resource Plans are prepared each year by all Resources to outline the key developments to be taken forward in the year.  Performance and actions relating to sustainable development can be found in the Community and Enterprise Resource Plan 

Twice a year, performance reports are presented to council committees on progress against the Resource Plans. In addition, reports detailing progress against the Council Plan Connect objectives are prepared – see Quarter 2 and Quarter 4 performance reports for further information. More information on our objectives can be found in the Council Plan Connect and also the Annual Performance Report.

The information contained within this report reflects the position based on the data available at the time of publication (March 2018)