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Showcasing Good Practice: Local Government climate change case studies


Photo by Margot RICHARD on Unsplash

COP26 already feels like a long time ago in many ways. While the event may have generated energy and optimism for some attendees, there was apathy and disappointment for others as the world looked to Glasgow for a better future. For the Improvement Service, a national organisation working across Scottish councils, we wanted to capture just some of the examples of how Local Government is leading the way on climate change. We joined forces with COSLA and the Sustainable Scotland Network to collect case studies, and now we want to highlight how at a local level the journey continues with renewed urgency and purpose.

There are a lot of great resources out there, but we wanted to provide something specific to Scotland based on what councils had submitted. By using an interactive map we have tried to make it easy to find climate change initiatives in particular areas, linking to short case studies with more detailed information about each project. The collection illustrates how Local Government is designing and delivering innovative solutions to the challenges posed by climate change, and as the Improvement Service we can use these pioneering examples to align our activity.

  • West Dunbartonshire have built and commissioned a new district heating network in Clydebank, an innovative project that has also been recognised as a COSLA award winner. Bringing together different priorities such as health, equality and climate is central to our work and through our Shaping Places for Wellbeing programme we are supporting communities including Clydebank to improve Scotland’s wellbeing and reduce inequalities.
  • Every sector has a role to play in the climate change agenda and it is vital to be creative in ways of working. Midlothian Council has created a new Business Green Pledge and is working closely with the private sector to drive change across the area. The Improvement Service is bringing together our activity on climate change and economic development and looking at how our data and intelligence can support area based partnerships such as Community Planning. We are also working with Creative Carbon Scotland to develop the connection between councils, arts and culture and climate justice, building on innovative initiatives such as the Inverclyde Climate Beacon.
  • Dumfries and Galloway Youth Council demonstrates how children and young people must be involved in conversations around delivering a sustainable future. The Improvement Service recognises this and has launched a new project to support the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child alongside our existing work on child poverty.
  • Transport is the largest emitting sector in Scotland, and we had a range of case studies submitted by councils from electric vehicles to hydrogen fuel. Access to public transport is a key part of the solution and we are supporting young people across Scotland to access free bus travel.

As we look forward, our focus shifts to incoming Elected Members and how best to support them in their crucial role. We are continuing our partnership work with COSLA and the Sustainable Scotland Network to publish a briefing on climate change as part of our induction materials and are preparing to run some focused sessions later in the year on relevant subject areas.

Nature, climate adaptation and biodiversity case studies









If you would like to discuss any of our work further, please contact [email protected]


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