WIDE-RANGING plans to deliver net-zero energy and heating system improvements across the Wee County and Stirling have been given the green light.

The Regional Energy Masterplan, developed jointly by Clackmannanshire and Stirling councils, maps out a route to reaching a net-zero energy system across the region within measured time periods.

Split into five-year phases, a range of projects are being proposed with associated costs and CO2 reductions.

It is a key part of the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal, a £214million partnership between the two local authorities, the University of Stirling, the UK and Scottish governments as well as other partners.

Cllr Fiona Law, spokesperson for the environment and net-zero at Clackmannanshire Council, said: “The council declared a climate emergency back in August 2021 and recognised climate change as one of the most serious challenges facing communities here in Clackmannanshire and across the world.

“The council also brought forward its net-zero targets to 2040 and set an area-wide target of net-zero by 2045.

“The Regional Energy Masterplan, which I was delighted to support at council recently, is vital to these efforts and outlines how we can work towards decarbonisation of our energy systems.

“Everyone has their part to play in protecting our planet and I look forward to working alongside our partners, businesses, the private sector and residents in achieving our net-zero goals.”

The plan was approved at recent meetings of both councils.

Potential projects include energy efficiency improvements within buildings; installing district heating networks at a number of identified locations in the region; generating renewable energy through the likes of solar panels at suitable sites and capturing carbon by planting millions of trees while restoring peatlands.

The masterplan has been shaped through engagement with key stakeholders, communities and businesses, using four key levers.

These include a drive to reduce energy use and heat demand, primarily through improvements to buildings.

Decarbonising heating systems through renewable technologies while taking advantage of opportunities for localised heat networks will help with heat management.

When it comes to energy generation, the plan calls for renewables to support the development of decarbonised heat and energy solutions.

The plan will also look to remove residual emissions through the restoration of nature, primarily woodlands by planting trees.

Cllr Chris Kane, leader of Stirling Council, added: “Transforming our energy use and generation will be key to addressing the climate and nature emergency.

“The Regional Energy Masterplan is our road map for cutting emissions and creating a net-zero energy system that protects our natural environment for future generations.

“It also outlines the ways we can seize opportunities to reduce fuel poverty, increase well-being and create new businesses and jobs.

“Successfully delivering the projects within the plan and achieving our objectives will need everyone working together with a common purpose – both councils, residents, private organisations, the public sector and the third sector.

“By doing this, we can inspire the necessary change to tackle the climate emergency and achieve affordable energy for everyone in the region, benefiting the lives of residents and supporting sustainable economic growth.”