The 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from 30 November to 12 December 2023. 2 years ago, Glasgow hosted the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26). To mark COP26, we published 26 things South Lanarkshire Council is doing to help climate change. To mark COP28, we are now highlighting 28 things we are doing to help the climate and nature crises:
1. Designation of 16 new Local Nature Reserves (LNR) in South Lanarkshire and doubling the size of the original LNR.
We now have 17 LNR’s in South Lanarkshire, increasing the total area covered by this designation from 20 ha to 610 ha. Sixteen new Local Nature Reserves were designated and the original LNR at Langlands Moss was extended from 20ha to 40ha. The Countryside and Greenspace team worked in partnership with NatureScot, the planning team, and many other council resources over the past six years to achieve this goal. The process included a consultation process with the local community, working with friend groups, and other interest groups to produce individual site surveys and draft management statements.
2. Greenhall, Milheugh and Barnhill LNR
SLC continues to work in partnership with the Friends of Calder community group at the LNR in Blantyre. Six trees, three planters, a composter, and a large bug hotel have been added to the community orchard. The orchard is a great resource for the local community and the pupils of the local primary and nursery schools. The site is maintained by the council’s Unpaid Work Service and Grounds Services team.
3. Langlands Moss LNR Peatland Restoration Project
The project involved:
- removing an area of 20.15ha of over-mature conifer trees,
- a protected species survey,
- removal of brash from the surface of the peat,
- the installation of 21 peat dams and five bunds, resulting in installing approximately 278 metres length of dams at the reserve.
By felling the conifer trees and blocking the associated drainage ditches, the water table can rise back to its natural level, preventing the underlying peat from drying out to help restore the growth of sphagnum mosses to make the peat an active carbon sink. Restoring the bog will support the council’s commitment to combating climate change, it will also lead to a much more diverse, attractive, and accessible recreational facility for the people of East Kilbride.
4. Outdoor Learning – supporting educators.
In 2022 funding obtained through NatureScot was secured to run a pilot program to support local teacher to discover Neilsland and Earnock LNR.
- A pilot project worked to deliver appropriate training for the teachers from the surrounding primary and nursery schools.
- 80 children and ten staff took part in the pilot, training included practical skills and various outdoor activities to highlight the benefits of children connecting with nature and outdoor learning.
- Funding is available for another year, where we hope to repeat on the success of this project in another LNR in South Lanarkshire.
5. Fernbrae Meadows
In Spring 2023, Countryside and Greenspace Rangers and volunteers started to monitor the 400m hedgerow which runs across the centre of the reserve. Using the Healthy hedgerows app and the Great Hedgerow Survey we were able to access the health of the hedgerow and with the community produce a plan to maintain and improve it for wildlife.
6. Clyde Climate Forest
Trees are vitally important to our towns and villages to help us adapt to increased rainfall and provide shade in heatwaves. The Clyde Climate Forest is a project to increase urban tree canopy by 18 planting million trees over a decade across the city region, including South Lanarkshire. This aims to connect woodlands and create new ones to help nature recover and protect and mitigate against climate change. Communities across the county have been at the heart of the activities.
7. Beat the Street App
After successes in other South Lanarkshire communities, the popular interactive game was back encouraging people to wall, wheel and cycle. From September to November communities across Clydesdale were encouraged to leave the car at home and embrace active travel and connect with their community.
Beat Boxes were placed on lampposts and players collect points by tapping their cards on the boxes. Participating schools received games packs containing game cards and maps to join up and join the fun. Families and the wider community were also encouraged to take part and leaderboards were available to view on the website. The chosen charity, Kilbryde Hospice received £500.
8. Better Points App
With a chance to earn rewards everyone who lives, works or studies in South Lanarkshire can get involved. People are encouraged to walk, wheel, cycle and use public transport to earn rewards that you can spend in local cafes, exchange for shopping vouchers or donate to Kilbryde Hospice. Find out about Think, Move, Breathe and download our free app at https://southlan.betterpoints.uk/
9. Climate Change Learn on Line
A series of Learn on Line modules on climate change and sustainability have been developed with Keep Scotland Beautiful. Since introduced this year the Climate Change Learn on Line modules has been completed by 1,364 employees
10. Eco School Status
43 South Lanarkshire Council establishments currently hold Green Flag awards with 9 schools submitting actions plans and awaiting assessment. Crawforddyke Primary School, who achieved their 6th green flag, also scooped Keep Scotland Beautiful’s Climate Action Project of the Year 2023.
11. Carbon Emission Reduction
The council continues to make significant strides in terms of cutting its carbon footprint. The latest report, covering 2022-23, shows carbon reductions of 65.7% compared to 2005-06, which is the baseline year set by the council.
12. Green Flag Parks
Retained Green Flag accreditation at Strathaven, Cambuslang and Castlebank Parks. Strathaven Park retained their Green flag status for the 11th consecutive year, while Castlebank and Cambuslang parks for 8 consecutive years.
13. Food Strategy Fund
The Food Strategy Fund was used to:
- £20,000 for the Food Strategy Community Grants was allocated to groups in 2022-23
- Provide a new allotment site at Chatelherault
- Develop additional growing space at Richmond Allotment.
14. Delivered Climate Literacy Training
A programme of Carbon Literacy Training for Council staff and elected members in conjunction with Keep Scotland Beautiful.
15. Sustainability Impact Assessments
Finance and Corporate Resources have worked with SLC's Sustainable Development Team to introduce a Sustainability Impact Assessment for both revenue budgeting proposals and new capital projects as agreed at the Climate Change and Sustainability Committee on the 20th of September 2023. The Sustainability Impact Assessment is a high-level assessment which helps consider the impacts of proposals in terms of carbon emissions, adapting to the effects of climate change, nature and biodiversity as well as wider sustainability issues, for example social justice and health and wellbeing.
16. Youth Forum
The South Lanarkshire Youth Forum on Sustainability and Climate Change has representation from secondary schools across the county and is presently supported by a dedicated member of staff. A leading voice for youth climate action, the forum’s successes to date include:
- Climate Emergency Newsroom (CEN) - their COP26 virtual newsroom gained a national and international audience on social media and celebrated in a motion to the Scottish parliament.
- Presentations to the Climate Change and Sustainability Committee and the Community Planning Partnership.
- Piloting a bespoke net zero engagement app in four secondary schools Jump App.
- Running a Waste Pilot in Trinty and Larkhall Academy to support better recycling habits and efficiency.
17. Eco Box Project
A range of projects have been developed and delivered to support adult learners engage with climate change and sustainable practices. Such projects include the Adult Learning Teams Eco Box Project, a 6-week programme supporting learners to consider eco-friendly approaches within the house and also as a cost saving exercise to address cost of living challenges.
18. Youth Strategy
Work is underway around the South Lanarkshire Youth Strategy as well as the Learning for Sustainability Action Plan which has recently been launched. Using the Young Scot Web Portal, we are currently working with the SLC Youth Forum on Climate Change and Sustainability as well as Facility Services to promote activity and opportunities for young people to engage in, both within their schools and wider communities.
19. Active Travel Plans
We have also developed Active Travel Plans for the Clydesdale area which have identified priority routes for the introduction of future active travel infrastructure.
20. EV Charging
The installation of 13 dual outlet 7kW charge points within on-street residential areas is now complete and all charge points are now available for public use. We have developed an EV infrastructure Expansion Plan and Strategy which has identified the future requirement for charging infrastructure within SLC. This project was done in partnership with Glasgow City Region and we are now investigating the most appropriate financial model to allow for the rapid expansion of the network.
21. Undertaking Feasibility Studies
Feasibility studies are currently being carried out by energy consultants to inform how and when the council can meet emissions reduction targets. The studies are progressing, and once complete, a routemap will be prepared. This will require an associated financial strategy, as many of the actions that will be required cannot be met within current budgets.
22. Climate Emergency Fund
The fund was established to support the development of sustainable development and climate change projects including internal projects and a community grant fund:
Some highlights funded through the Climate Emergency Fund include:
- A programme of Carbon Literacy Training for Council staff and elected members in conjunction with Keep Scotland Beautiful.
- A project to accelerate the introduction of electric vehicles into South Lanarkshire Fleet.
- A Tree Canopy analysis has been carried out for the South Lanarkshire area which will help better understand existing canopy cover and where projects need to be targeted in the future.
- Ballerup Nursery was awarded a grant to develop a nursery/community allotment and garden area.
- Blantyre Soccer Academy and Blantyre Bikes Better received funding to run a cycling repair and holiday club.
- Burnhill Action Group bid for funding from a variety of sources and have redeveloped the ‘Highbacks’ area in Rutherglen into a community garden.
- Stonehouse Eco Festival took place in May 2022. This was a community led initiative to share ideas and promote a greater awareness of climate change issues.
- Waist Not Want Not received a grant to purchase equipment for their community reuse and recycle Shop in East Kilbride
23. Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategy
Council officers are working with the environmental consultant, Changeworks, on the development of the Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategy and Delivery Plan. A draft LHEES will be prepared by the end of December 2023. Between January and March 2024, we will carry out internal and external stakeholder consultation before presenting a final version of the strategy and delivery plan to the Executive Committee.
Continue to look at alternative methods to control weeds. We have continued to use alternative means of applying herbicide throughout the authority as well as reviewing those areas where we apply, a report will be provided for the CC&S Committee for February 2024.
25. Sustainable Procurement
New tender scoring approach circulated to Procurement Network and in use for all regulated procurements.
26. Conference of the Schools
The Conference of Schools Climate Conference was successfully held by Education and the South Lanarkshire Youth Forum on Sustainability and Climate Change at the Palace Grounds on 11-13 October 2022 with a high level of participation.
27. Sustainable Development and Climate Change Strategy
The new Sustainable Development and Climate Change Strategy (2022-27) was approved at full council in June 2022.
28. Recycling staff recruitment
Two temporary Waste Services Assistants have been recruited to facilitate projects aimed at reducing residual waste and increasing recycling rates.