Joint approach to carbon reduction in schools and communities

A new communities and schools carbon reduction officer has been appointed by Scottish Borders Council (SBC) to work in partnership with communities, school eco-committees and parent councils.

The new post, jointly funded through European LEADER, Marks and Spencer’s Plan A Eco-schools project and SBC, will provide support to existing climate change activities and help develop new projects addressing energy use, resource efficiency, and waste minimisation and recycling, helping SBC avoid financial penalties that will come into force next year through the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, as Scotland continues its carbon reduction commitment.

Such projects may include local energy management projects, potential for renewable energy generation, transport initiatives, local food supply and re-skilling support. These areas will be delivered on a partnership basis between schools and local groups, increasing uptake and commitment and their implementation should have a positive effect on the local economy by retaining finance in the area by supporting local business. This will be enhanced by cost savings through resource efficiencies especially energy savings.

The project will focus on specific aspects of the Eco-Schools programme and the wider community partnership role of parent councils, complementing the growing network of ‘Transition Towns’ and carbon neutral communities across the Scottish Borders.

Announcing that Fiona Munro has been appointed to the two year post, Councillor Len Wyse, SBCs executive member for environmental services, said: “She has experience of environmental management systems and has worked within waste minimisation and recycling for a number of years, including working with schools groups and community organisations. She is keen to develop her skills and knowledge into wider carbon reduction issues and will be dealing with a range of local energy, food and transport issues.”

Councillor George Turnbull, executive member for education, added: “We are grateful to LEADER and Marks & Spencer for continued funding to allow our carbon reduction work to continue in the Borders. This project will allow pupils to be creative with environmental themes, with particular focus on energy, transport and waste.”

Mike Barry, head of sustainable business at Marks & Spencer, said: “We’re committed to reducing our impact on the environment and helping our customers and their local communities to live more sustainably. Engaging with schools is an integral part of this and, through our work with the Scottish Borders Council, we’ve helped encourage hundreds of local pupils to learn more about sustainability and inspire them with their own eco-projects.”

If you know of any groups of people who may be interested in developing community-based carbon reduction projects then get in touch with Fiona Munro on 01835 824000, Ext 5521 or FMunro@scotborders.gov.uk