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Energy & Climate Change - what is West Lothian Council doing?

Reducing the carbon emissions from the council's own activities and services and contributing to the organisation being able to lead other partner organisations and businesses within West Lothian to achieve similar reductions.

As a public body, West Lothian Council has a duty to help achieve national climate change and sustainability targets set by the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 (opens new window).

The council has been committed to taking action to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change for some time. West Lothian Council signed the Climate Change Declaration in 2007 and declared a 'Climate Emergency (opens new window)' in September 2019.

Council Emission

Since our baseline year (2013/14) West Lothian Council has decreased our emissions by 55%

To achieve our net-zero targets the council aims to reduce our emissions by 5% per year, from 2021/22 to 2022/23 the council achieved a 8% decrease in emissions. 

A full breakdown of West Lothian Council's annual emissions figures can be found in our Annual Declaration (opens new window).

There are a number of direct actions that have contributed to our emissions reductions including the implementation of energy efficiency projects, moving to Twin Stream recycling, replacing street lighting with low energy LED equivalents and investing in renewable and low carbon technologies such as biomass boilers and solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. Another key driver has been a reduction in the emissions factor for grid electricity.

Net Zero Emissions Targets

The National Targets
Net zero emissions are achieved when the emissions produced are balanced by those removed from the atmosphere. The Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019 (opens new window) sets targets to reduce Scotland's emissions of all greenhouse gases to net-zero by 2045 at the latest, with interim targets for reductions of at least 56% by 2020, 75% by 2030 and 90% by 2040 from a 1990 baseline year. To help ensure delivery of the long-term targets, the legislation also includes annual targets for every year to net-zero.

West Lothian Council Targets
As part of our response to the Climate Emergency, West Lothian Council aims to achieve a net-zero position by 2045 at the latest, in line with Scottish Government targets. West Lothian Council's interim targets are 61% reduction by 2028, 65% reduction by 2030, 86% reduction by 2040 and net-zero by 2045.

Climate Change Strategy

Climate Change Strategy 2021-2028
The council's latest Climate Change Strategy 2021-2028 [4MB] was published in October 2021. The Strategy provides direction in West Lothian Council's journey to net-zero.

It contains 28 actions for the council across areas such as energy, transport, waste and biodiversity. Progress against the strategy's emissions targets will be reviewed annually as part of our annual Climate Change Report and updated every five years.


Adaptation Action Plan

The council published it's Adaptation Action Plan (opens new window) in April 2022. While the council's Climate Change Strategy focuses on mitigation (lowering carbon emissions) the Adaptation Action Plan focuses on how the council will adapt to the effects of climate change that we're already experiencing and will experience, with increased severity, in the future. Actions include step such as increasing the creation of sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) to help soak up excess water and reduce flooding. 

Adaptation vs Mitigation

Local Heat & Energy Efficiency Strategy 

New local strategy for transition towards net zero

Heat Network Zones are set to be established in West Lothian as part of a proposed plan to increases energy efficiency and lower carbon emissions.

Heat networks supply heat to homes and buildings from a central source, avoiding the need for individual heating systems.  They can offer an efficient, environmentally friendly way to heat homes and businesses, and will play a key role in achieving wider climate change targets.

A meeting of West Lothian Council Executive has approved the development of the council's first Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategy (LHEES) [4MB] .

The draft LHEES has identified 14 potential Heat Network Zones across West Lothian.

The LHEES is to serve as a long-term strategic framework for the improvement of the energy efficiency of buildings in the local authority's area, and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from heating those buildings.