Environment and Climate Change
- Cutting funds for environmental action is a false economy – the cost of inaction is greater than the cost of action.
- The costs and benefits of tackling climate change must be shared equitably.
- Adopt a post-2030 plan in the forthcoming Council term.
- Scrap brown bin charges.
- Prioritise flood prevention – particularly through tree planting and other nature-based solutions.
- Support collective climate action across the public, private, and third sectors.
As this manifesto has already stated, tackling poverty, ending inequality, and leaving a liveable planet for our children to inherit are completely inter-related goals. We cannot achieve one without also achieving the others. Environment and climate change has therefore been written into all of the policies proposed above. This final section addresses additional measures that don’t fit neatly under the previous headings.
The Moray Council has already adopted a plan which aims to make the council carbon neutral by 2030. While Labour commends this strategy, planning needs to begin now for further reductions in CO2 beyond 2030. We also need to expand our ambitions beyond the Council’s carbon footprint to supporting our local businesses and communities to reduce emissions. Labour Councillors will propose the adoption for a post-2030 climate strategy within the forthcoming Council term.
Landfill waste is, by far, the largest source of Council emissions. When garden waste decomposes in landfill it produces methane, which is 25x more harmful than carbon dioxide. Furthermore, when garden waste ends up with standard domestic waste it bears a cost to the Council in the form of landfill tax. Charging for garden waste collection is, therefore, a false economy, and harmful to the environment. Labour will scrap brown bin charges.
Moray has the fourth highest recycling rate in Scotland, but also saw an above-average drop in recycling between 2019 and 2020.  Moray Labour is concerned that the reduction in recycling bin collections is having a negative impact on household recycling. Moray Labour Councillors will ask Council Officers to examine the impact of the reduction in recycling bin collections on household recycling rates. We will seek means to restore fortnightly collections if evidence can be found that this would increase recycling rates. We are also hearing reports that public requests for larger recycling bins are not being processed, and will seek to ensure that the Council’s Recycling & Waste section is properly resourced in order to deal with these requests.
It can scarcely have escaped the notice of most local residents that cleansing is a diminished priority in Moray. Labour believes that cuts in this area represents another false economy, as filthy streets diminish the attractiveness of Moray to inward investors. Labour Councillors will seek to demonstrate the value of clean and tidy communities by targeting street-cleaning towards key areas.
Flooding is a major concern for Moray’s communities, both on the coast and on the banks of our rivers. Moray Council is the lead authority for the Local Flood Risk Management Plan, covering the Findhorn, Spey, and Lossie. In the most recent interim report, plans for Spey Bay area, in particular, is identified as being behind target – especially with respect to those actions linked to SEPA (the Scottish Environment Protection Agency). Garmouth is now experiencing unbearable levels of flooding. Moray Labour Councillors will push for swift implementation of flood prevention plans, especially those affecting Spey Bay. Wherever possible we will support nature-based schemes such as tree planting and using felled trees to re-align the river away from areas of high flood risk.
Moray Labour believes that the current flood strategy pays too little attention to the issue of water catchment in our uplands. Large scale degraded and deforested landscapes are maintained as ‘sporting estates’ for the rich, often with tax breaks and government subsidies, while downstream our communities pay the price in flood defences, repairs and increased insurance premiums. Moray Labour Councillors will support initiatives such as land reform, tree planting and large-scale landscape restoration, and seek to include such initiatives in the local flood strategy.
The third sector (i.e. non-profit charity and community groups) have been central to Moray’s environmental action. Moray Labour Councillors will continue to support organisations such as tsiMoray, REAP Scotland and Moray Waste Busters in delivering environmental change. Moray Labour will include third sector groups as a central part of our Community Wealth Building Strategy, and help to co-ordinate environmental action between the public, private and third sectors.
Moray Labour will support tsiMoray’s bid for Moray to host one of 12 Scottish Government Climate Hubs. We will work with third sector organisations to present Council support as match-funding in their own funding applications, thereby helping them to leverage additional income.