Sustainable development and climate change strategy
Theme and vision
Our strategic vision and mission statement is:
Our Future is Now: building a sustainable, climate resilient and net-zero South Lanarkshire together, in a fair and inclusive way.
‘Our Future is Now’ mirrors the 2019 UN Sustainable Development Goals report on collaborative action with respect to achieving sustainable development goals.
Discussions at the focus groups demonstrated that people felt that the vision should reflect what is important to people, include the climate emergency, and demonstrate the pace and scale needed, the requirement to work together, and that everybody be treated equally.
From the issues that were discussed during the public engagement, there are four key themes that emerged. These themes align with the themes of the Council Plan: People, Place, Planet
- Place and Communities
- The Natural Environment (Planet)
- A Green Economy (Planet)
People are at the heart of a sustainable South Lanarkshire. Health and well-being are paramount; no one should be disproportionally affected by the impacts of climate change; there should be a just transition to a net-zero future; climate inequalities and fuel poverty are reduced; and there is harmony between society and nature.
During the public engagement sessions, people felt that issues like tackling poverty and inequalities, and improving health and wellbeing were of more importance to people than climate change. The People theme looks to build on the work already happening across South Lanarkshire to make it a fairer place for everyone, by helping to improve health and wellbeing, assisting with the cost of living, and mitigating the inequalities exacerbated by climate change. Climate change will increase the risk of environmental hazards. It is recognised that the impacts of a changing climate are not felt equitably among people and often have disproportionate effects for those already experiencing poverty and inequalities. While we look for solutions to address the climate crisis, we will do so in a way that creates a fairer and more just society in the process.
Communities are empowered and supported to create sustainable, inclusive and thriving places that are net-zero, climate resilient, well connected, with access to energy efficient, comfortable and affordable homes, local services, and local quality outdoor space.
During the public engagement sessions, people felt access to local services was important to them and they wanted to be included in the decisions made about their local areas. They wanted to have access to affordable, safe and sustainable transport options, energy efficient, comfortable and affordable homes, and local quality greenspace - the benefits of which have been further realised as a result of the pandemic. There were discussions around rural and urban areas in South Lanarkshire and the challenges and opportunities these geographical differences raise. It was also felt that there should be fair involvement of all residents in environmental developmental decision-making processes. This theme will build on the work already happening across South Lanarkshire to improve communities and place, although it will do this through a sustainable development and climate lens which will take the diversity of rural and urban South Lanarkshire into account.
South Lanarkshire’s natural environment, greenspace, and biodiversity is restored, protected, enhanced, and respected, enabling basic needs like clean air, clean water, and healthy soils, as well as many other health and wellbeing and economic benefits for the people of South Lanarkshire.
During the public engagement sessions, people felt strongly that our natural environment holds many benefits for people and for helping to tackle climate change. There was a lot of discussion around litter and fly-tipping and that there is a greater need to respect our local and natural environment. People agreed the need for quality greenspace for our health and wellbeing and understood that the natural environment provides us with basic needs like clean air, water and food, medicine, building materials and jobs, and felt that these should be enjoyed equally across South Lanarkshire. It was also felt that good quality, local greenspace can contribute to a sense of place. This theme will build on the work that is already happening to restore, protect, enhance, and respect the natural environment as well as help in the transition to net-zero and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
South Lanarkshire demonstrates leadership and innovation in the transition to a thriving, net-zero, climate resilient, and circular economy. In partnership with businesses and social enterprises, we should aim to protect and enhance our natural resources and the health and wellbeing of citizens through building community wealth, providing sustainable, quality, green job opportunities, re-skilling and training, and leaving no one behind.
Opportunities for local jobs and security of income were identified as key priorities during the public engagement. The pandemic has brought a lot of uncertainty to the economy and to job security. The transition to net-zero could mean changes to businesses and jobs. This theme will build on the work already taking place across South Lanarkshire towards a thriving and sustainable local economy by ensuring that we are taking actions that contribute to a just transition - that nobody is left behind - and that there are opportunities for quality green jobs as the green market grows across South Lanarkshire.
The vision and themes have been used as a framework to develop 13 main priorities and these will be used to inform our action plan.
See our Priorities page