MORE than 100 people from a variety of backgrounds took part in North Ayrshire’s first Climate Change Convention on Thursday, March 12 in Saltcoats Town Hall.

The event kicked off with the council leader outlining the positive changes made to date, leading to a reduction of 44 per cent in both the council’s carbon emissions and North Ayrshire as a whole.

This has been achieved through the installation of solar panels on council buildings, new district heating schemes, and increasing energy efficiency through education and other renewable technologies.

Attendees then heard from Kathryn Dapre, Head of Energy and Sustainability NHS and Chair of Sustainable Network Scotland, and Ellie Murtagh from Adaptation Scotland.

Kathryn said: “I was delighted to be taking part in this important event and good to see North Ayrshire Council taking an ambitious and proactive approach to tackling the Climate Emergency. I’m a North Ayrshire resident, which means that my own travel footprint for this event will be minimal!”

Ellie said: “Adaptation Scotland were delighted to be involved and look forward to working further with North Ayrshire Council on their adaptation journey. We also welcome North Ayrshire Council’s strong commitment to climate action. The inclusion of an adaptation work stream will be a crucial opportunity to enhance resilience and deliver long term benefits for communities.”

School pupils, representatives from community groups, local businesses, and a range of other stakeholders all took part.

The council last year declared a climate emergency and backed that up by committing £8.8 million in this month’s budget towards implementing change.

Councillor Cullinane added: “The climate emergency is an existential threat to our planet that requires urgent action to be taken, at all levels of government, across the globe to rapidly cut carbon emissions. Here in North Ayrshire we have a real chance to lead from the front and set the agenda.

“We have set ourselves a target of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2030. That’s ambitious but we feel absolutely essential in the current climate.

“We are hoping to make these conventions an annual event.”