Net Zero Emissions (Community Groups)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 1st September 2021.

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Photo of Colin Beattie Colin Beattie Scottish National Party

2. To ask the Scottish Government what further guidance and support it will provide to community groups to help them meet the goal of net zero emissions. (S6O-00074)

Photo of Michael Matheson Michael Matheson Scottish National Party

We must engage communities across the country in our journey to net zero. Communities are being supported via the climate challenge fund as well as through the developing network of climate action hubs and towns. We are also launching a number of national initiatives in the run-up to climate week.

Our new website aims to help the public and communities to understand how they can play their part in tackling the global climate emergency, and it provides resources for community action. The website also signposts to further practical and financial support that is available to communities through other initiatives.

Photo of Colin Beattie Colin Beattie Scottish National Party

In my Midlothian North and Musselburgh constituency, there are well over 250 community groups with varying sizes and levels of activity. What financial support might be made available to those groups to assist them on their journey to net zero?

Photo of Michael Matheson Michael Matheson Scottish National Party

A number of Scottish Government funding packages are available to communities. For example, the Penicuik Community Development Trust in the member’s constituency was awarded just under £116,000 in the current financial year from the climate challenge fund for its Penicuik carbon challenge project, which offers free support to help residents and groups to reduce their carbon footprint by tackling waste.

The funding that is available to support communities on their journey to net zero includes the Scottish Government’s community and renewable energy scheme, which provides advice, loans and grant funding. Up to £5.25 million is available in the current financial year to support local community groups to develop renewable energy projects, supporting the growth of community and locally owned energy projects. There is also the Energy Saving Trust programme, which delivers a range of initiatives such as the e-bike grant scheme and provides support to community-based organisations to move to active travel. Further community support is available through the love local campaign, which is being rolled out nationally.

There are a range of different funding streams that community groups can access. I encourage any community group that is looking for advice on them to look to the website for further information, or to the Scottish communities climate action network website, which also contains a considerable amount of information on the area.