Highlands & Islands

Highland Council ponders cuts and climate change

Car's exhaust
Image caption Closing buildings could lead to staff having to travel to other sites

A council has begun assessing the positive and negative effects on the environment of making massive cuts to its services.

In a report, Highland Council said savings proposed for 2010-11 and 2012-13 would be "screened for climate change impacts".

It suggests fewer bin collections could encourage more people to recycle.

But the council said reducing its workforce could lead to remaining staff having to travel more.

Climate change is routinely considered in decision making at Highland Council.

However, the local authority faces a bigger task in weighing up the good and bad impacts of cuts running to many millions of pounds.

Councillors meeting on Thursday will consider plans that include shedding 300 jobs, shutting some public toilets and reducing street cleaning.

In the report mentioning climate change screening, officers have outlined some potential consequences of making cuts.

Emptying household bins less frequently could encourage residents to recycle more and less waste going to landfill.

Closing council-run buildings could lead to less electricity being used.

But officers said this move should be balanced against any increased journeys to other sites for work, causing a rise in carbon emissions.

Having fewer employees may also lead to remaining staff having to travel more to cover duties carried out by a larger workforce.

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