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Public Sector Climate Change Reporting

The Climate Change Act places duties on public bodies with respect to climate change.  The Act requires public bodies to have regard to this guidance; Section 44 of the Act places duties on public bodies relating to climate change which requires them to: contribute to carbon emissions reduction targets; contribute to climate change adaptation; and to act sustainably.

The Act also allows Ministers, by Order, to impose other climate change duties, to require reports on compliance with climate change duties, and to designate one or more bodies or persons to monitor compliance and to carry out investigations.  Some of these powers have not yet been used.  However, following public consultation and parliamentary scrutiny, a Statutory Order under section 46 of the Act came into force on 23 November 15, requiring list public bodies to annually report on compliance with the climate change duties.  The Order sets out the reporting requirement, list of public sector major players involved and the standard climate change reporting form.

Major players listed in the Order are expected to submit their reports to the Scottish Government for the period 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016 by 30 November 2016 and each year thereafter.

The Sustainable Scotland Network (SSN) has been commissioned to act as the focal point for public body reports to be submitted, published and analysed.  The list of major players involved, reporting forms and user guidance are now available on the SSN website to assist public bodies in relation to these climate change duties.  However, responsibility for compliance with the duties rests with public bodies themselves.

The new reporting guidance is intended to help public bodies identify operational inefficiencies, increase transparency, and to encourage debate and discussion leading to improved sustainability reporting.  The guidance also provides support for public bodies’ action on sustainability bodies themselves.

SSN works closely with other Scottish Government funded programmes such as Resource Efficient Scotland, Zero Waste Scotland, Adaptation Scotland and the Energy Saving Trust to provide public bodies with free advice and practical tools to help deliver climate change action to reduce emissions and costs. In 2017, the Scottish Government surveyed SSN members and stakeholders to inform the next phase of SSN’s work. The survey findings are here.

Local Authority, Further and Higher Education, National Health Service and other (includes transport partnerships, police and emergency services, national parks, Scottish Water, SEPA and a range of other non-departmental public bodies) reports are available on the SSN website.

The Scottish Government also publishes climate change information covering its own estate, recording GHG emissions relating to energy, waste, water use, travel, transport, biodiversity and sustainable procurement.