Scotland's Climate Week update from VANL's CEO, Maddy Halliday

This week’s VANL enews features Scotland’s Climate Week which runs from 14-20th Sept. Although the COVID 19 crisis dominates our news and thoughts and has changed our lives, the climate emergency is still with us and is an even larger challenge!

Climate breakdown – which is linked to human’s increasing carbon emissions -  is moving at speed with deeply worrying climatic changes all over world. To quote a recent update from the United Nations

No corner of the globe is immune from the devastating consequences of climate change. Rising temperatures are fueling environmental degradation, natural disasters, weather extremes, food and water insecurity, economic disruption, conflict, and terrorism. Sea levels are rising, the Arctic is melting, coral reefs are dying, oceans are acidifying, and forests are burning. It is clear that business as usual is not good enough. As the infinite cost of climate change reaches irreversible highs, now is the time for bold collective action.”

However, the UN’s Secretary-General António Guterres pointed out in September 2020, “the climate emergency is a race we are losing, but it is a race we can win”.

This challenge affects all of us now and our futures and that of our children, grandchildren and future generations.  All of us have a responsibility to be informed, take action in our own lives to reduce carbon emissions and press our political and business leaders to take major steps to reduce carbon emissions urgently at scale.

The Scottish Government’s Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019    commits Scotland to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2045, five years earlier than the UK Government’s target.

In June 2020, North Lanarkshire Council declared a climate emergency and has a carbon management plan to reduce its emissions to zero in line with Scottish Govt requirements.  NHS Lanarkshire and other local public bodies such as the Police and Fire and Rescue are also required to meet this target.  

The community and voluntary sector must also make its contribution – every organisation needs to review its activities to find ways to reduce carbon emissions. In August 2019 VANL hosted a first seminar on the climate emergency  and then established a new Climate Emergency Network to support climate awareness and action through the community and voluntary sector across NL.  VANL applied to the National Lottery in December 2019 for funding to support this network and community climate action – sadly without success.  We were about to seek funding from other sources when COVID 19 struck and this vital work had to be paused.  VANL recently submitted an Expression of Interest to the Scottish Govt. to host a Community Climate Change Hub but has yet to hear. Irrespective of any future funding, VANL will continue to work with and support the sector on community climate action and support collaboration with the statutory sector. The North Lanarkshire Partnership (NLP) - which supports community planning across North Lanarkshire through the Plan for North Lanarkshire and the new  “The Place – The Vision” plan which sets out the regeneration plans for each of the nine localities across NL, has also agreed that the climate emergency is a key priority and has asked VANL to play a lead role on this issue.

The next meeting of the NL Climate Emergency Network is on Monday 9th November 10-12.30 and will be held remotely on zoom.  If you would like to attend, please register your interest at

This meeting will inform preparation of a draft Community Climate Action Plan for NL to be discussed at the November meeting of the NLP Strategic Leadership Board and all nine Community Boards.

Maddy Halliday
Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire