North Ayrshire Council have received a score of just 36 per cent for their action to combat climate change.

But their ranking still leaves them 12th in Scotland for their work to fight global warming.

Climate Action UK carried out a study of every local authority in the UK to find out how they were dealing with climate change.

They judged councils on issues they had control or influence over, which have a big impact on carbon emissions and biodiversity loss. 

That included planning and land use, waste reduction and food and building and heating.

North Ayrshire's 36 per cent ranking saw them far below Edinburgh, which topped the Scottish rankings with a score of 58 per cent.

East Ayrshire ranked eighth with a score of 41 per cent, while South Ayrshire came 21st in Scotland with a score of just 29 per cent.

The score by category for North Ayrshire was: building and heating 40 per cent; transport 28 per cent; planning and land use 39 per cent; governance and finance 26 per cent; collaboration and angagement 50 per cent; and waste reduction and food 60 per cent.

However, the council scored zero for biodiversity, which brought their overall score down. But the low score may be down to a technicality.

According to a council spokesperson, Climate Action UK asked 'does the council employ a planning ecologist to scrutinise planning reports for biodiversity net gain?’ 

While NAC don’t have a planning ecologist, they do employ a biodiversity officer who covers all aspects of biodiversity policy, including working with the planning team.

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The average score for authorities across Scotland was 34 per cent, the highest of any nation in the UK, while the average across England was 32 per cent. 

The Council Climate Action Scorecards cover seven sections and 91 questions.

The Scorecards included four penalty marked questions where councils lose marks for actions that increase emissions, such as investing in airports, expanding or building new roads, or approving planning permission for oil or gas infrastructure.

Don von Rohland, campaigns and outreach director at Climate Emergency UK said:  “The scores across Scottish local authorities show that there needs to be more support from the Scottish government for councils to tackle the climate emergency.

"A lack of funding and powers is one of the biggest barriers to effective climate action. Yet national barriers alone cannot explain every low score as some councils are scoring well in certain sections, which shows that other local factors, such as political will and ambition, are at play in determining the action councils are taking to combat climate change.”

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “We have been proactive in tackling climate change for some time, achieving significant reductions in our emissions as a result of actions aimed at reducing energy consumption from fossil fuels and producing less waste through a number of initiatives including energy conservation and increased use of renewable energy sources.

“A coordinated approach across all services has been key to the successful implementation of emission reduction projects.

“For many years we have had a robust environmental sustainability and climate change strategy in place which is regularly refreshed to reflect new and emerging technology.

“We declared a climate emergency in June 2019 and consequently North Ayrshire Council has committed to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.

“More recently, our approved council plan for 2023-2028 continues that focus and specifically prioritises climate action through partnership approaches.

“Climate change and biodiversity loss are considered a twin crisis, with changes to one having an effect on the other. As result, biodiversity actions will continue to have a prominent place in our strategies going forward. 

“The North Ayrshire Biodiversity Partnership has also been created to bring together a wide range of stakeholders to assist in implementing actions that will improve biodiversity across the area, and our focussed biodiversity officer plays a key role in coordinating this work.”