Public Sector Responses to Climate Change: Evaluating the Role of Scottish Local Government in Implementing the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009

Tony Jackson
William Lynch


Effective climate change actions demand collaborative action from public bodies at all levels, placing local governance at the forefront of delivery. Scottish legislation imposes some of the most demanding legally-binding requirements for reducing greenhouse gas emissions currently to be found anywhere in the world. The new climate change obligations on Scottish local government are reviewed in the context of current Scottish emissions and UK energy policies. Analysis indicates that the pattern of carbon consumption rather than its production must be targeted, and that local government is well-placed to deliver many of the policies to this end. Case studies of Fife and Highland Councils show how Scottish local authorities (SLAs) are planning to discharge their climate change mitigation and adaptation responsibilities. Energy efficiency is driving the mitigation of carbon consumption, while new techniques for measuring carbon footprints are being used to adapt the development process to a low carbon mode. SLAs must pursue low-cost local climate change solutions not just to enhance the resilience of Scottish communities but also to demonstrate the feasibility of such approaches for local governance systems elsewhere in the face of growing financial constraints. Recent changes in Scottish waste management practices indicate the potential in this respect.

Full Text:



AEA (2008) Mitigating Against Climate Change in Scotland: Identification and Initial Assessment of Policy Options, Ayrshire, Atomic Energy Authority

Audit Scotland (2010) Improving Energy Efficiency: a Follow-up Report, Edinburgh, Audit Scotland

Barker T & Johnstone N (1998) International competitiveness and carbon taxation", in Barker T & Köhler J eds. (1998) International Competitiveness and Environmental Policies, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar, 71-142"

Barkin J S & Shambaugh G E (1996) Common-pool resources and international environmental politics", Environmental Politics, 5(3), 429-447, "

Bradshaw G & Johnston A (2009) Carbon Trading Council Taking Stock, London, Local Government Information Unit

Brady S & Jackson T (2003) Waste recovery using Packaging Waste Recovery Notes: a cost-effective way of meeting targets?" Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 46(4), 605-619, "

Brinkley A & Less S (2010) Carbon Omissions: Consumption-based Accounting for International Carbon Emissions, London, Policy Exchange

CEC (2001) Directive 2001/42/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Assessment of the effects of Certain Plans and Programmes on the Environment, Brussels, Commission of the European Communities

CEC (2002) Directive 2002/91/EC on the Energy Performance of Buildings, Brussels, Commission of the European Community

CEC (2010) Directive 2010/31/EU on the Energy Performance of Buildings (recast), Brussels, Commission of the European Community

Dawkins E, Roelich K, Barrett J & Baiocchi G (2010) Securing the Future â the Role of Resource Efficiency, Banbury, Oxon, Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP)

DECC (2010a) Beyond Copenhagen: the UK Government's International Climate Change Action Plan, Cm 7850, London, Department of Energy and Climate Change

DECC (2010b) Electricity Market Reform: Consultation Document, Cm 7983, London, Department of Energy and Climate Change

DECC (2010c) Consultations on Amendments to the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme Order 2010, London, Department of Energy and Climate Change

DECC (2010d) The Green Deal: a Summary of the Government's Proposals, London, Department of Energy and Climate Change

Dresner S & Ekins P (2006) Economic instruments to improve UK home energy efficiency without negative social impacts", Fiscal Studies, 27(1), 47-74, "

Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) (2010) Adapting to Climate Change: Sixth Report of Session 2009-10, London, House of Commons

FC (2010) 2009/10 Progress Report on Scotland's Climate Change Declaration, Glenrothes, Fife Council

Hayman A (2010) Minister outlines council role in delivering energy saving scheme", Local Government Chronicle, 25 November, 10-12"

HC (2010) Adapting to Climate Change 2010, Inverness, Highland Council

Helm D (2008) Climate-change policy: why has so little been achieved?", Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 24(2), 211-238, "

Helm D (2010a) The case for carbon taxes", in Less S ed. Greener, Cheaper, London, Policy Exchange, 53-78"

Helm D (2010b) Government failure, rent-seeking, and capture: the design of climate change policy", Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 26(2), 182-196"

Helm D R, Phillips J & Smale R (2007) Too Good to be True: the UK's Climate Change Record, , accessed 5 January 2011

Jackson T & Illsley B M (2006) Strategic environmental assessment as a tool of environmental governance: Scotland's extension of the European Union SEA Directive", Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 49(3), 361-383"

Lea R (2011) Energy shake-up will lift electricity bills to £1, 000 in 20 years", The Times, 3 January, 35"

LGA (2009) From Kyoto to Kettering, Copenhagen to Croydon: Local Government's Manifesto for Building Low-carbon Communities, London, Local Government Association

Mabey N, Hall S, Smith C & Gupta S (1997) Argument in the Greenhouse: The International Economics of Controlling Global Warming, London, Routledge

McIlveen R (2010) Cutting the cost of carbon", in Less S ed Greener, Cheaper, London, Policy Exchange, 14-51"

Natural Scotland (2010) Key Scottish Environmental Statistics 2010, Edinburgh, Scottish Government

Paul A, Minx J, Owen A, Barrett J & Wiedman T (2008) Right Climate for Change: Carbon Footprinting for Scottish Local Authorities, Stirling, Local Footprints: Footprinting Support for Local Authorities

PCCC (2010) Planning for Climate Change â Guidance and Model Policies for Local Authorities, London, Planning and Climate Change Coalition

Richens J (2010) What does the future hold for the CRC?", ENDS Report, 431, 4-9"

Savills, AEA Technology & MVA Consultancy (2011) Quantitative Greenhouse Gas Impact Assessment: a Tool for Spatial Planning Policy Development. Phase 1: Feasibility Report, Edinburgh, Scottish Government Social Research

SCCD (2011) Scottish Climate Change Declaration, , accessed 14 January

SCCIP (2011) Scottish Climate Change Impacts Partnership, , accessed 14 January

Schreurs M A, Selin H & VanDeveer S D eds (2009) Transatlantic Environment and Energy Politics: Comparative and International Perspectives, Farnham Surrey, Ashgate

SG (2009a) Climate Change Delivery Plan: Meeting Scotland's Statutory Climate Change Targets, Edinburgh, Scottish Government

SG (2009b) Scotland's Climate Change Adaptation Framework, Edinburgh, Scottish Government

SG (2009c) Conserve and Save: the Energy Efficiency Action Plan for Scotland, Edinburgh, Scottish Government

SG (2010a) Scottish Planning Policy, Edinburgh, Scottish Government

SG (2010b) Strategic Environmental Assessment of Development Plans: Planning Advice Note (PAN) 1/2010, Edinburgh, Scottish Government

SG (2010c) Consideration of Climatic Factors Within Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), Edinburgh, Scottish Government Environmental Assessment Team

SG (2010d) Climate Change in Scotland Annual Report 2009-2010, Edinburgh, Scottish Government.

SG (2010e) Scotland's Zero Waste Plan, Edinburgh, Scottish Government.

SG (2011) Public Bodies Climate Change Duties: Putting Them into Practice: Guidance Required by Part 4 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, Edinburgh, Scottish Government.

SNIFFER (2011) Scotland and Northern Ireland Forum for Environmental Research, , accessed 14 January

South Lanarkshire Council (2010) Ecological Footprinting for South Lanarkshire Community Growth Areas, Hamilton, South Lanarkshire Planning and Building Standards Services

SP (2005) The Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005, Edinburgh, Scottish Parliament

SP (2006) The Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006, Edinburgh, Scottish Parliament

SP (2008) The Energy Performance of Buildings (Scotland) Regulations 2008, Edinburgh, Scottish Parliament

SP (2009) Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, Edinburgh, Scottish Parliament

Stern S N (2006) The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, London, H M Treasury

Stewart D (2010) The Issues and Challenges in Delivering More Energy Efficient Housing in Scotland, Glasgow, Scottish Centre for Regeneration Briefing Paper 19

UK Parliament (2008) UK Climate Change Act 2008: Chapter 27 â Climate Targets and Budgeting, the Committee on Climate Change, Trading Schemes, Impact of and Adaptation to Climate Change, etc., London, Palace of Westminster

Wilson E & Piper J (2010) Spatial Planning and Climate Change, Abingdon, Routledge.



Share this article: