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Alness and Invergordon join Climate Action Towns programme to develop community engagement against climate change

By Federica Stefani

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Alness High Street. Picture by: Katielee Arrowsmith, SWNS.
Alness High Street. Picture by: Katielee Arrowsmith, SWNS.

TWO Easter Ross communities are among seven in Scotland to join an initiative aiming to tackle the climate crisis.

Alness and Invergordon were chosen to be part of the Climate Action Towns programme, which aims to support the communities to find ways of making changes at a local level that will help tackle climate change, giving them a voice and engaging those that may not have previously engaged in climate action.

The towns were chosen based on their population size, Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) factors and for not being historically engaged in climate action.

Maree Todd MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross has welcomed the recent announcement.

She said: “The 2020 SIMD indicates that there are areas within both Alness and Invergordon that are considered economically deprived, some of which rank in Scotland’s top 10% most deprived areas.

“We know that sustainable options are not always the most economical and this can work to hinder our progress when it comes to combating climate change.

“No community should be left behind, and this is why I’m so pleased to see the launch of The Climate Action Town project which looks to consult with communities to identify local barriers to climate action and seeks to empower and facilitate communities to make changes.

Maree Todd MSP on Alness High Street.
Maree Todd MSP on Alness High Street.

“Over the last week and a half, we have seen a series of ambitious targets announced by world leaders attending the COP26 summit in Glasgow, whilst global action is essential, we must do all we can at a local level to cut carbon emissions and deliver a fair and just transition to net-zero.

“I’m delighted to see two towns in my constituency selected as Climate Action Towns and I can’t wait to see the outcomes.”

The project which will be delivered by Architecture and Design Scotland, will see a collaboration between local people and agencies and will seek to encourage collective climate action, whilst accounting for the unique local challenges of each town.

The outcome of the work will be used to outline learning for climate action on a local level that can then be used as a model throughout Scotland.

Chair of the Easter Ross area committee, councillor Fiona Robertson, commented: “We welcome the opportunity for Alness and Invergordon to take part in this project. The two towns were identified based on their local need to adapt to climate change risk.

“Addressing climate change is something that we all have a part to play in and I have no doubt that both these communities will come together during this project with innovative ideas to build up resilience to the effects of climate change.”

Fiona Robertson
Fiona Robertson

The announcement comes at a time of growing interest in the Cromarty Firth, with Highland Council currently working with partners through the Opportunity Cromarty Firth (OCF) consortium to promote a range of projects aiming to reinforce the region's contribution to climate action at national and regional level and the development of the Future Highlands strategy.

The Climate Action Towns programme will benefit from funding of £146,000 from the Scottish Government.

Just Transition Minister Richard Lochhead said: “It is clear that we must decarbonise industry and society in order to mitigate the worst effects of climate change, but we must do so in a way that is fair for everyone and leaves no one behind.

“Scotland was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution, so we see it as only right that Scotland is at the forefront of this green revolution.

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make changes in a way that will be good for our people, our communities, our economy and our planet – we must seize it.

“Tackling the climate crisis requires all of us, at every level, to get involved. We can all make a difference. The Climate Action Towns project aims to support and empower communities to have a say on how their local areas should change as part of a fair and just transition to net zero. I look forward to seeing how the towns that are taking part rise to the challenge and find ways that will not only make a difference locally but to Scotland and indeed the world.”

Climate Action Towns will be focussing on the power of “place-based” action, which can include: creating resilient food networks, creating community renewable energy co-operatives, considering the climate when deciding whether to build new buildings or refurbish and adapt existing ones.

Among the other towns selected are Annan, Campbeltown and Stevenston.

READ: Annual report reveals 'excellent result' for the Port of Cromarty Firth despite Covid-19 impact

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