The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service marks Climate Week 2022

Sep 26, 2022

As part of Scotland’s Climate Week 2022, the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) has set out the growing effort the organisation is making to help tackle climate change.

SCTS has been proactive in reducing emissions in a number of areas, including the installation of solar panels on court and tribunal buildings and making the switch to an entirely electric vehicle fleet.

A number of electric vehicle charge points have also been introduced in court and tribunal car parks, while the organisation has moved towards more digital ways of working – including an electronic financial payments system which prevents people having to make the journey to court to pay fines.

However, the organisation is aware there is always more to be done and is keen to look at where it can go further to help reduce its carbon footprint.

Chief executive Eric McQueen said: “Within SCTS, we have adopted sustainable practice in a number of business areas – including installing solar panels at several of our buildings and fitting more than 100 EV charge points across our estate.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has also brought about a number of changes which, while created out of necessity, are now contributing to more environmentally friendly, digitally enhanced ways of working.

“But we know there is always more to do and are committed to doing what we can to help the Scottish Government achieve its aim of Scotland becoming a net zero nation by 2045.

“That’s why this week we have been encouraging staff to discuss the measures introduced so far and consider what further changes can be made.

“Climate Week offers us a chance to take stock and contemplate what comes next as we look to pursue a better, more sustainable future within our courts and tribunals.”

Solar panel systems have been installed at ten sites across the SCTS estate, including at: Airdrie Sheriff Court; Edinburgh Sheriff Court; Falkirk Sheriff Court; Glasgow Sheriff Court; Glasgow Tribunal Centre, Greenock Sheriff Court; Inverness Justice Centre; Kilmarnock Sheriff Court; Paisley Sheriff Court; and Birnie House in Hamilton.

Much of this has been funded through successful grant applications from Scottish Government funds such as the Green Public Sector Estate Decarbonisation Scheme.

SCTS has also recently successfully applied to the Scottish Central Government Energy Efficient Grant Scheme and received £426,000 in capital grants to install further Solar panels at Dunfermline Sheriff Court, as well as various efficiency projects at Falkirk Sheriff Court and the installation of LED lights at Banff Sheriff Court.

A further £45,000 in revenue grants will also allow us to install LED lighting at other court buildings.

In March last year, a total of 12 SCTS vehicles were replaced with fully electric vehicles, cutting emissions for staff travelling between sites.

And in October, the organisation was also successful in securing £1.5m from Transport Scotland to install 118 high capacity electric chargers across 59 sites.

Kate Leer, director of Property Services within SCTS, said: “SCTS has made a number of changes in recent years which have helped to reduce our emissions and limit our impact on the climate.

“Most recently, Airdrie Sheriff Court was fitted with solar panels and our data shows that in July, around 55% of the building’s electricity was generated by the panels. This led to consumption from the grid dropping from 17,992hWk to 8,522 kWh.

“We expect that over a year, the panels at that one court will generate enough energy to power up to 18 standard homes per year, producing savings of £9000 and 10 tonnes of carbon annually.

“Across the estate, we have also replaced outdated boiler systems, introduced smart heating technology and undertaken major lighting upgrades and insulation improvements.

“So we are proud that we are already making a difference, while recognising that there is still some way to go to further reduce our carbon footprint.”

The theme of Climate Week 2022 is ‘Scotland, Let’s Talk Climate’ and the aim of the event is to get people talking about climate change and the ways everyone can make a difference.

With that in mind, SCTS will host a Climate Conversation event on Thursday to allow employees to hear more about the work being done within the organisation and discuss where we can go further.

Staff are also being urged to consider their own carbon footprint in areas such as recycling, travel and energy use.

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