The climate crisis is global, but councils can offer local solutions | Stephen Smellie

The climate crisis is global, but councils can offer local solutions | Stephen Smellie

With government support, councils can lead the way in generating clean energy, insulating housing and reskilling staff

At Cop26 this year, we’ll hear about diplomats and heads of state negotiating over targets, but when a river bank bursts or a storm hits, it’s our local councils that are left to clear up the mess. When Storm Frank lashed the north-east of Scotland over the new year of 2016, it was council binmen, engineers, housing officers, social workers and home carers who worked day and night mobilising volunteers to evacuate homes and find temporary accommodation for some 300 households.

In the weeks and months afterwards, Aberdeenshire council had to deal with a mile stretch of destroyed road, three washed-away footbridges, and damage to several bridges. This is on top of the clean-up operation and returning families to their homes. Despite financial assistance from the Scottish government, the council was left with a bill of around £15m. This is the less glamorous, but very real work, that goes into responding to climate change.

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