Birthplace of Renewables

When Dumfries and Galloway announced plans for a “net zero” carbon target by 2025 it naturally made people sit up and wonder.

While other local authorities across Scotland and, indeed elsewhere in the UK, were being less forthright with their ambitions, few if any believed they could match such a bold move.

Now the region is hoping to blow its trumpet again – but this time on a global stage!

For Galloway Glens wants to entice world leaders attending the United Nations Climate Change conference in Glasgow later this year to come and see for themselves what can be achieved if the desire is there.

The organisation is hoping to encourage the newly-elected American President Joe Biden and his cohorts to make a visit south – on an electric bus, of course – to the “birthplace of renewables”.

The proposal has the strong backing of Scottish Conservatives shadow rural affairs minister Finlay Carson who raised it last week at Holyrood during talks between Scottish Government officials and the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee over involvement in COP26.

The MSP, who is deputy convener of ECCLR, insisted it was important to engage with people and showcase as many projects as possible. He said: “Dumfries and Galloway Council and the Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership have suggested that there could be some break-out groups, one of which could come down to Dumfries and Galloway, given that it is the first council in the UK to have a target of net zero by 2025.

McNabb Laurie, team leader of Galloway Glens, believes it makes sense for the world leaders to visit an area regarded as the “birthplace of renewables”.

He said: “There is no one further ahead in this field, so why not invite them to come and hear our remarkable story. We have a lot to be proud of and I see no reason why they wouldn’t want to lister considering our net zero ambition by 2025.

“We are a unique collaboration of organisations, led by the communities we serve. We also include funding bodies such as the National Lottery Heritage Fund, allowing the heritage assets of the region to drive today’s response to the carbon reduction challenge.”

Few places match the renewable achievements already housed in the local area, ranging from the 110MW Galloway Hydro Scheme, the first large scale integrated hydro-election complex built anywhere in the UK, to the Windy Standard, the first onshore consented windfarm in Scotland, while there is also the Robin Rigg, the first offshore wind development.

The renewables success story doesn’t end there, however, as there is also the Crichton Carbon Centre, the first organisation in Britain to account for the carbon in peatland, while the Galloway Forest Park is the largest of its kind in the UK and has become a vital part of carbon sequestration targets through various planting schemes.

Among other notable achievements is the Galloway & Southern UNESCO Biosphere which supports sustainable science.

With so much to see, the world leaders might want to pack an overnight bag!