Renfrewshire Council

Ren Zero logo on landscape

Renfrewshire's Plan for Net Zero

A summary of Renfrewshire's Plan for Net Zero, its priorities, key themes, actions and next steps

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We have launched the first phase of Renfrewshire's Plan for Net Zero which sets out how the area will work towards net zero by 2030.

As a Council, we will play a leadership role by striving to become a net zero organisation while working closely with businesses, partners and stakeholders to make radical, but essential, changes in Renfrewshire.

Though Council-led, Renfrewshire's Plan for Net Zero has been created collaboratively with local communities through regular meetings of the Renfrewshire Climate Panel, as well as surveying local businesses to identify how to make immediate and future change possible for the business sector.

Independent research was commissioned into the area's current emissions which showed transport was responsible for 34% and both commercial and residential energy usage contributed 29% respectively - meaning these three areas are responsible for 92% of Renfrewshire total emissions.

The research also outlined that the Council contributes only 2.5% of all emissions in Renfrewshire, reaffirming that our primary focus should be a leadership approach as we cannot tackle climate change with solely internal transformation.

Clean Energy

We will minimise energy demand, maximise energy efficiency and transform our energy systems to deliver clean, affordable energy for all.

Priority areas:

  • Minimising energy demand
  • Maximising energy efficiency
  • Maximising sustainable energy generation
  • Alleviating fuel poverty
  • Energy security and resilience
  • Offsetting: conventional sources of energy as a last resort, with local carbon offsetting to compensate

How the Council will lead and enable the transition to clean energy:

  • We will undertake a strategic review of all the buildings we own to ensure more efficient use: minimising energy consumption; reducing energy waste; maximising energy efficiency; and ensuring all public and community buildings have renewables where technically feasible - monitoring and sharing our progress to ensure transparency and facilitate replication by others
  • We will generate the equivalent of 100% of the Council's public buildings' power needs and ensure 100% of the Council's public building heating requirements are carbon neutral by 2030
  • We will implement measures in Council housing stock to reduce carbon emissions by 68% (from 2020 levels) and work towards ensuring all Council housing stock has an EPC of B by 2030 where feasible. Where possible we will work with private homeowners within mixed tenure blocks to help them to participate and benefit from Council energy efficiency improvement programmes and will work with owner-occupiers and the private rented sector to share learning and identify opportunities to reduce costs for all through economies of scale
  • We will increase energy security and resilience - mapping strategically across Renfrewshire to identify local energy solutions for heat, power and transport on an area-by area basis. This will accelerate deployment of local energy systems where local supply meets local demand; using input from stakeholder engagement to ensure we tailor solutions to respond to and meet our communities' social and environmental needs, including alleviation of fuel poverty and will ensure the benefits of local energy systems stay within our communities
  • We will work with regional partners to attract large-scale public and private investment to ensure community wealth building, quality green jobs and resulting in inclusive, empowered, resilient, sustainable communities with a reduced reliance on fossil fuels, for example increased community and locally owned energy

Sustainable Transport

We will maximise sustainable transport opportunities to deliver an inclusive, affordable transport system that provides choice for all

Priority areas

  • Maximise active travel opportunities
  • Increase public transport patronage
  • Minimise car miles
  • Enable modal shift to Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs)
  • Alleviate transport poverty
  • Local carbon offsetting: to make every trip in the Renfrewshire area net zero carbon

How the Council will lead and enable the transition:

  • We will remove the need for new petrol and diesel light commercial vehicles in the Council fleet by 2025 and phase out the need for all new petrol and diesel vehicles in the Council fleet by 2030
  • We will explore options for a public bike share scheme (including e-bikes) and will continue to work with local communities to identify active travel infrastructure to be systematically upgraded and extended where feasible and create strategic new paths for functional journeys, alongside policy updates and promotion to enable more people to walk, wheel and cycle safely and more often
  • We will ensure safer streets that enable active travel, including introducing 20mph zones where proportionate to make our communities safer, identifying suitable areas for pedestrianisation and segregated/off road active travel networks
  • We will work with public transport partners to explore options for increasing deployment of low emission buses, including electric and hydrogen vehicles, and improving public transport provision across the area
  • We will advance equality of opportunity by exploring options for a public EV car club scheme and through continuing to invest in and expand public EV charging infrastructure across Renfrewshire, and will meet the equivalent of 100% of this increased electrical demand from renewables by 2030

Circular economy

We will make Renfrewshire a zero-waste society with a circular economy: minimising waste and maximising reuse, recycling and recovery of resources rather than treating them as waste

Priority areas

  • Reduce waste at source
  • Maximise reuse, repair and recovery
  • Sustainable waste management
  • Supporting communities to reduce waste
  • Offsetting: disposal as a last resort, with local offsetting of associated emissions to compensate

How the Council will lead and enable the transition:

  • We will identify procurement hot spots within the Council's supply chains, activities and operations to maximise circular economy opportunities; optimise local supply chains; and identify areas where we can reduce carbon in the products and services we buy through innovative procurement
  • We will ensure recycling is accessible for everyone, including non-standard properties, e.g. tenements and flats, and work to resolve problem areas such as storage space, stairs, communal bins, lack of participation and fly tipping through ongoing stakeholder consultation and engagement
  • We will ensure that all Council buildings, including schools, have the facilities for the full recycling collection service and work with local businesses and commercial waste providers to identify improvement opportunities
  • We will promote sharing and repairing behaviours (including within our own operations) and work with local partners to expand existing models of sharing libraries and repair caf├ęs and workshops
  • We will reduce the carbon impact of waste from Council operations annually per head of population, monitoring and sharing progress as well as lessons learned from initiatives which have been implemented

Connected Communities

We will empower our communities by ensuring an inclusive and just transition to net zero with social justice and health and wellbeing at its core for current and future generations

Priority areas

  • Comprehensive and ongoing engagement
  • Supporting community initiatives and partnership working
  • Socio-economic impact benefits
  • Our children and young people
  • Support and advice

How the Council will lead and enable the transition:

  • We will work with partners and local organisations to launch a one-stop information service which links and signposts to support and advice across all areas of the Plan for Net Zero and to help address the cost of living crisis
  • We will implement the Fairer Scotland Duty in all our decision making and actions in response to the climate emergency to ensure all decisions and actions help to tackle inequality as well as reducing emissions
  • We will embed community wealth building into our procurement practices to ensure a local-centred approach which redirects wealth back into the local economy and provides opportunities and benefits into the hands of local people
  • We will work with our communities to identify opportunities for land and assets within their local area to develop local projects which benefit those who live there, e.g. community energy opportunities, food growing, wild flowering and tree planting, flood resilience - connecting people through regenerated local space and tackling inequality through community collaboration
  • We will listen to all our communities to hear what their issues and priorities are in order to design local solutions which meet the needs of all our local citizens fairly, with a focus on those who are most vulnerable, to contribute to improved social outcomes, including assisting alleviation of fuel poverty; reducing health inequalities; and reducing adverse climate change impacts, while keeping communities updated on action and initiatives being proposed locally

Resilient Place

We will optimise biodiversity and nature locally to enhance our natural environment and maximise green economic opportunities while planning and preparing for impacts of climate change

Priority areas

  • Ensuring resilience
  • Protecting, restoring and enhancing existing habitats and species
  • A green recovery with community wealth building
  • Helping nature locally
  • Improving air quality
  • Sequestration

How the Council will lead and enable the transition:

  • We will work with colleges, schools, universities, local training providers, apprenticeships and staff training, to ensure that the courses and training opportunities exist for the stable and sustainable, quality jobs that will be created to ensure every person is able to reskill and upskill to participate in a just transition to a net zero
  • We will carry out an inventory of all Council land and assets, including vacant and derelict land, to explore how we can store more carbon on our land than we produce - identifying appropriate locations and measures to increase the carbon stored on land we own and increase biodiversity on public land assets, e.g. restoration of peat bogs; greening public spaces; and wild flowering instead of using lawnmowers on verges where safe to do so
  • We will encourage change - supporting, developing and creating 20-minute neighbourhoods/rural hubs so that citizens can access the services they need locally; ensuring sustainable transport infrastructure; and increasing local renewable energy generation (both new development and using existing infrastructure)
  • We will produce a proposed pipeline of our major infrastructure projects in order to link with skills transition and local employment opportunities and identify skills gaps, shortages and requirements ahead of time. This proposed pipeline will build on work that is already underway to encourage investment in local areas; enable local supply chain and manufacturing opportunities to be identified; de-risk private sector investment; and bring about regeneration of local areas
  • We will undertake proactive measures: adopt an early warning system to prepare for extreme weather events such as heatwaves and flooding; identify "grey" and "nature-based" flood protection measures; put in place local emergency response plans; and undertake a climate risk register of all public assets to ensure all our infrastructure and buildings, including historic buildings are resilient to the impacts of climate change

We will continue to engage regularly with council services, partners, businesses, stakeholders and the local community to ensure that the plan remains a collaborative document for all of Renfrewshire.

We have committed to creating an easy-read version of the Plan for Net Zero, as well as a version for children and young people, to ensure that all our important audiences are able to be aware and part of the campaign.

Five key actions for Phase 2 of the plan are:

Detailed phased plan to 2030

We will look strategically and holistically across the whole Renfrewshire area to identify opportunities and solutions and to set targets, which will be highlighted in the form of a road map with to aid communication with all our stakeholders

Quantified Delivery Plans

We will set out costed, area based phased delivery plans with benchmark capital costs for each period of the Net Zero road map and will quantify and consider all impacts of the proposed delivery plans, including those that cannot be monetised (e.g. carbon reduction, fuel poverty alleviation, job opportunities)

Verifying, adopting and updating our emissions modelling tool

We will quantify the impact of the phased actions, to inform future targets and present data in an interactive way

Developing a carbon budget for Renfrewshire Council

Identifying our emissions by service area will be key in improving our understanding of how our emissions relate to the services we provide and the reductions we need to aim for in order to adapt to delivering high quality local services in a way that is fit for a resilient, net zero future

Developing an Adaptation Plan for Renfrewshire

Developing adaptation solutions and implementing a phased programme of priority actions which are designed to respond to and address the local impacts of climate change that are already happening, as well as prepare for future climate risks across the Renfrewshire area. These actions will be centred around communities, security and resilience, infrastructure and our local environment

Full policy document

If you would like a copy of the quick-read or full version of the Plan for Net Zero, you can email us at or call us at 0300 300 0300.