Sustainability strategy

Our vision for sustainability

We support the principle of sustainable development and are committed to improving the quality of life for present and future generations in Angus. By a process of integrating responses to environmental, social and economic issues the council will help to maximise human welfare while enhancing the environment in Angus.

Sustainable development means "development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs".

Sustainable development is a phrase which has been used increasingly since the United Nations Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. It was at the Earth Summit that over 150 Heads of States signed an agreement to implement sustainable development. The agreement was called Agenda 21 and is in effect an action plan for the 21st century aimed at reconciling economic, social and environmental issues and enhancing people’s quality of life. It covers a wide range of issues including:

  • reducing our use of energy and raw materials and reducing pollution and wastes
  • protecting fragile ecosystems
  • sharing wealth and opportunities for development more fairly at local, national and international levels

Our aims

In working towards sustainability our principal aims are to:

  • integrate environmental and sustainability considerations into council strategy, policy and programme formulation
  • work in partnership with other agencies, businesses, community groups and individuals
  • consult and involve people more fully where decisions affect our environment
  • work towards sustainability by balancing economic, social and environmental considerations for both present and future generations
  • recognise that working towards sustainability will be a continuing process requiring flexibility and adaptability;
  • monitor and report on progress towards sustainability

Our commitment

In 2007, we signed up to Scotland’s Climate Change Declaration which committed the council to a number of actions to reduce its impact on climate change:

  • work with the Scottish Government and the UK Government to contribute to the delivery of Scotland’s and the UK’s climate change programmes, including to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to future climate change scenarios
  • produce and publicly declare a plan, with targets and time-scales, to achieve a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from our own operations including our energy use and sourcing, travel and transportation, waste production and disposal, estate management, procurement of goods and services, and improved staff awareness.
  • ensure that greenhouse gas reduction and climate change adaptation measures are clearly incorporated into our new and existing strategies, plans and programmes, in line with sustainable development principles
  • assess the risks and opportunities for our services and our communities of predicted climate change scenarios and impacts, and take action to adapt accordingly and in line with sustainable development principles
  • encourage and work with others in our local community to take action to adapt to the impact of climate change, to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions and to make public their commitment to action
  • publish an annual statement on the monitoring and progress of our climate change response, detailing targets set, actions taken, outcomes achieved and further actions required
  • collaborate with other organisations to promote good practice of climate change mitigation and adaptation

To see what progress has been made on these commitments please look at the Angus Council annual statutory report to the Scottish Government on the authority's progress in contributing to Scotland’s ambitious climate change targets – a reduction in emissions by 70% by 2030, 90% by 2040 and a net-zero target for 2045.

Maintaining the productive nature and diversity of the natural heritage of the rural and coastal areas is of prime importance to us.

Similarly, our historic, cultural and archaeological heritage needs to be protected and enhanced and the vitality and viability our town centres maintained. It is hoped that through measures such as these, and others that improve the health and safety of our communities, that the quality of life for present and future generations of people living and working in Angus can be enhanced.

We have an important role to play in maintaining and enhancing the environment of Angus. As an employer, purchaser of goods and services, provider of services: and educator and regulatory authority, we can have a considerable impact on the environment. However, the council acting on its own will not be enough, sustainable development requires partnerships, with all sectors of society making a contribution and working together.

Built environment

As most of the country's population lives in urban areas it is important that our towns and villages provide a good quality of life and an environment that is clean and where people can feel safe and free from the fear of crime. The distinctiveness of local architecture and townscape needs to be maintained and enhanced and the local cultural and archaeological heritage preserved for future generations to appreciate.

We will seek to:

  • conserve and enhance the historic and cultural heritage of Angus and the local characteristics of the towns and villages
  • encourage design in new or regeneration developments which will improve access for the disabled and create an environment free from the fear of crime
  • ensure that new developments are in line with sustainable development priorities in regard to location and design
  • conserve and promote a network of greenspace within the built environment which links to the surrounding countryside through a footpath network

Education and awareness raising

Sustainability is a difficult concept to define but is one that needs to be at the heart of many decisions and actions. Many of the things we do today cannot be sustained without irreparable damage to the environment such as using up non-renewable natural resources. By providing information and raising awareness of environmental and sustainability issues we can help people to make informed choices and persuade them to change their behaviour

We will seek to:

  • raise awareness of environmental issues amongst staff, school pupils and local communities
  • publish information about the local environment

Our eco schools pages give information on which schools in Angus are taking steps to become more sustainable.

Energy

Much of the energy we use for heating and lighting our home s and businesses and for transport comes from non-renewable natural resources. We need to use these resources much more wisely and efficiently; often small changes in behaviour can reduce energy consumption considerably. Alternative renewable sources need to be investigated.

We will seek to:

  • reduce the council's use of energy in buildings, transport and equipment
  • promote energy efficiency to staff and others in the community
  • investigate alternatives to non-renewable energy

You can help reduce energy consumption, for more information and advice visit our save energy in the home page.

Natural environment

We must learn to recognise the significance of our local plants and wildlife and seek to conserve and enhance them. In Angus there are a number of sites designated for their natural quality. Some are important for their rarity locally whilst others are of international importance. By careful management this resource can be maintained and enhanced. Public access to the countryside therefore needs to be managed to ensure that environmental damage does not occur or is at least confined to those areas best able to cope whilst fragile areas are left undisturbed.

We will seek to:

  • promote a sustainable approach to land and habitat management
  • protect and enhance local biodiversity
  • encourage a sustainable managed approach to public access to the natural environment
  • encourage a reduction in the use of non-renewable resources

Pollution

The natural environment can only accommodate a certain amount of pollution (ie within its carrying capacity) beyond which irreparable damage can occur. Pollution is usually caused by man’s activities and can affect the air, the land and our fresh and salt water environs damaging our plants and wildlife and damaging human health

We will seek to:

  • reduce local pollution of air, land, water and to reduce the incidence of noise and light pollution
  • minimise pollution from council buildings, vehicles and equipment and from council working practices

Purchasing

The power of consumer pressure is growing. By seeking out goods and services which are less harmful to the environment than other alternatives we can help to influence the market and increase the number of environmentally friendly products available. For more information view our Sustainable Procurement page.

We will seek to:

  • purchase goods and services which do least damage to the environment

Transport

The number of vehicles on the roads continues to increase and government forecasts suggest that in 20 years time traffic levels will be between 36% and 57% higher than now, unless we change our policies and travel habits. We need to look at alternatives to the car and lorry not just to help reduce pollution and to improve the environment of our towns and villages but to encourage walking and cycling as a means to a healthier lifestyle.

We will seek to:

  • maintain and enhance the public transport network
  • encourage walking and cycling as alternatives to the car
  • review the council's business transport use

You can help reduce car journeys by car sharing. Our liftshare pages help match you up to others doing the same journey.

Waste

Disposing of the many types of the waste created is becoming increasingly difficult; large areas of land are taken up, great care has to be taken to ensure pollution does not result from landfill or incineration, and collection and delivery to the point of disposal adds to the environmental impact of transport.

Waste minimisation through reducing packaging etc, and the reuse and recycling of materials can contribute to the waste reduction targets set by Government

We will seek to:

  • encourage waste minimisation and reuse and recycling of materials both within the council and amongst the community
  • use the most benign method of disposal for council waste

To find out more about recycling in Angus visit our bins and recycling pages.