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Public performance reports

Sustainable Development and Climate Change

The Council Plan Connect, outlines the council priorities and outcomes for 2022-27. Connect Priorities 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 priorities show how our work links with our partners including our Community Planning Partners. 

For daily updates, stories, and what’s going on in your area, visit our information and news website South Lanarkshire View

Each year we produce Annual Performance Spotlights which summarise how we have performed in achieving our Connect Priorities. To complement these 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 our objective to work with communities and partners to promote high quality, thriving and sustainable communities.

The council has a key role in the transition to a low-carbon economy and society. We have a legislative requirement to contribute to the new national greenhouse emissions reduction target of net-zero by 2045, with interim targets of 75% reduction by 2030 and 90% reduction by 2040. The council can contribute to this transition through policies and regulatory powers in areas such as waste management, housing strategy, development planning, local transport planning, countryside and greenspace management, air quality and environmental protection. The council also has a duty to prepare for and take adaptive measures to reduce the impacts that changes in our climate may have in our communities, on our properties, roads and infrastructure, and on our natural environment.  Adaptive measures may include flood risk management, maintaining and enhancing biodiversity and greenspace, and green infrastructure.

For more detailed information, you may want to read our Sustainable Development and Climate Change Strategy 2022-2077.

South Lanarkshire Council's carbon emissions (tonnes) – Target - 5% reduction compared to baseline year 2019-20

What this means

This indicator measures the council’s carbon 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 for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy.

Why this matters This indicator shows how successful the council has been in reducing its own carbon emissions.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 Are we improving?
SLC 67,282 54,591 55,798 Yes
Scotland N/A N/A N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service

In 2021-22, the council's carbon emissions were reduced by 17% compared with the baseline year 2019-20. This is partly due to the continued service disruption throughout the year due to Covid, reductions in national carbon conversion factors, and reduced amounts of household waste going to landfill. The year 2020-21 has not been used as a baseline year as the data was distorted due to Covid service disruption.

Energy consumption in South Lanarkshire Council buildings - Target is to reduce energy consumption each year compared to the previous year through effective energy management and investment

What this means

The energy used in our buildings is responsible for around 40,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year (50% of the council’s carbon footprint). Energy efficiency measures are applied across 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 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 Are we improving?
SLC Reduced by 31% compared to the previous year Reduced by 6% compared to the previous year Reduced by 7% compared to 2019-20 Yes
Scotland N/A N/A N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service

Carbon emissions for 2021-22 were reduced by a further 1% from the previous year and by 7% from the baseline year of 2019-20. This is mainly due to decreases in the national carbon conversion factors for gas and electricity, slightly offset by increased levels of gas being used within our school estate for Covid ventilation measures.

Domestic waste is our second largest source of carbon emission. Scotland’s zero waste plan contains a range of targets designed to assist the Scottish Government to 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 – Target, 50% 
What this means This indicator shows the percentage of household waste that is recycled and composted during the year. 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 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 Are we improving?
South Lanarkshire 46.4% 40.5% 40.4% No
Angus 59.1% 57.9% 54.7%
Clackmannanshire 55.5% 48.6% 50.0%
East Renfrewshire 67.8% 56.6% 58.1%
Inverclyde 54.0% 37.1% 48.5%
Midlothian 50.8% 47.3% 47.4%
Renfrewshire 53.1% 49.1% 51.7%
West Lothian 58.2% 45.0% 41.3%
Scotland 44.9% 42.0% 42.7%
How we have performed in improving this public service

The percentage of total household waste that is recycled decreased slightly in 2021-22. At 40.4%, it is below the Scottish Average of 42.7%.

The amount of residual waste generated remained higher in 2021-22 than in pre-pandemic levels. It is worth noting that the material collected in bulk uplifts continued to have a higher-than-normal quantity of non-recyclable waste (more black bag waste than normal) which meant that only 15% of the waste collected via the bulk uplift service was recycled.  These factors coupled with lower recycling rates at all HWRCs (which can be attributed to residents’ continued resistance to separating recyclable waste from residual waste at the sites despite the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions) have contributed to a lower household recycling rate.

See Waste Management Public Performance Report.

Council-wide transport emissions - The target is to reduce vehicle emissions in 2020-21 against the baseline of 2014-15

What this means

Fuel consumption from our fleet is responsible for around 9,000 tonnes of our measured carbon emissions each year (8% of the council's carbon footprint). 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's ambition for almost complete decarbonisation of road transport by 2050.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 Are we improving?
SLC Reduced by 12.9%  Reduced by 28.0%  Reduced by 32.6% Yes
Scotland N/A N/A N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service

The 32.6% reduction in vehicle emissions has to be taken into context as Covid-19 resulted in fewer vehicle journeys being made in the last year than would normally be the case. It is nevertheless a positive outcome that continued reductions have been achieved.

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, to educating others and raising awareness by providing training to volunteers on identifying non-Scottish (invasive) plants. 

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.

40 South Lanarkshire Council establishments currently hold an Eco-Schools green flag award. Another 8 schools have submitted their plans and work is ongoing to continue to promote uptake and participation. 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.  Young people in South Lanarkshire are very aware of their environmental responsibilities and share what they have learned with their parents.

We will take forward the following key areas for improvement:

  • Continue to improve the council’s compliance with public sector climate change duties through annual statutory reporting
  • Implementation of the Sustainable Development and Climate Change Strategy, across 4 themes: People, Place and Communities, The Natural Environment (Planet) and a Green Economy (Planet)

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 Outcomes 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 Spotlights.

Local Government Benchmarking Framework (LGBF) allows councils to work together, to use performance information in a way which will help understand variations, share knowledge, expertise and good practice, with a view to making improvements. For more information and links relating to this framework go to the 'Benchmarking' paragraph on the Improvement and how we compare page on our website.

The information contained within this report reflects the position based on the data available at the time of publication (February 2023).