Council seeks ‘climate conversation’ with community

Shetland Islands Council is inviting responses to an online survey on tackling climate change.

The council’s recently formed Climate Change Programme focuses on reducing Shetland’s waste production and greenhouse gas emissions.

To help gather views and identify emerging issues, local householders and businesses are asked to respond to an online survey, the results of which will feed into a “Net Zero” future plan for Shetland.

The online survey will mark the start of an ongoing local “climate conversation” covering key topics such as energy supply, transport, business and industry, reuse and recycling, and buildings and land use.

The Scottish government has implemented legislation with a target date of 2045 for Scotland to achieve net-zero of all greenhouse gases – aiming to make a definitive contribution to climate change within one generation.

Actions include decarbonisation of the public sector and engaging with business and industry, as well as encouraging individuals to move towards low carbon living.

Shetland’s carbon footprint is 10.2 tonnes of CO2 per capita, almost twice the national average of 5.3 tonnes. Shetland’s location, island transport links, industries and dispersed rural population, are all seen as contributing factors to this statistic.

SIC environment and transport committee chairman Ryan Thomson said: “I’d urge folk to give us their views on how we can all work towards reducing Shetland’s carbon footprint.

“This survey is the start of our ‘climate conversation’ and an open dialogue with the community, including local businesses, organisations and individuals.

“As we look ahead to recover from the pandemic, Shetland is well placed to support a greener recovery and we all need to play our part.”

The online survey is open to all Shetland residents. It can be found at and will be available for the next four weeks.

In addition to completing the survey, anyone with particular comments can contact the council’s climate change strategy team by email on


Add Your Comment
  • Alex Armitage

    • May 24th, 2021 13:44

    I’m shocked that we have double the national average. Decarbonisation can be a tricky business, some changes are easy but many of the changes that we need to make have a big impact on people’s lives, although not necessarily in a bad way.

    We should convene a Shetland citizens’ assembly. This has shown through many historical examples (most recently in achieving a solution to the debates in Ireland on abortion and gay marriage) to be the best way to build a democratic mandate for transformational change.

    The ongoing bitterness in the wake of the Viking Energy debacle demonstrates the failure of a top-down, authoritarian approach.

  • Peter Long

    • May 24th, 2021 14:15

    “I’d urge folk to give us their views on how we can all work towards reducing Shetland’s carbon footprint.”

    Is the demonization of carbon really justified? Remember that the delicious salad you eat for your good health may well have been grown in a greenhouse whose atmosphere has been enriched by the addition of carbon di-oxide.


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