Dundee and Angus College Accelerates Path To Net Zero

Dundee and Angus College is to lead Scotland’s college sector in achieving net zero emissions.

Simon Hewitt, Principal has been appointed lead Principal for Climate Emergency by Colleges Scotland, championing the sector’s contribution to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions and a more sustainable future for Scotland.

While leading and supporting the wider college sector, Mr Hewitt is also announcing ambitious targets for Dundee and Angus College, which has been leading the sector for some time.

While Scotland works towards a target of 2045 for achieving net zero climate emissions, Scotland’s colleges aim to meet the goal by 2040 or earlier. Mr Hewitt has announced an ambitious drive for Dundee and Angus to achieve net zero for scopes 1 and 2 emissions*, by 2030.

Making the finishing touches to its five-year Climate Emergency Action Plan, the College has vowed to replace all gas-fired technology with renewable technology, replace all petrol and diesel cars and vans with EVs and gradually replace its diesel mininbus fleet with EV minibuses. No business flights will be permitted by College staff within the UK and all plastic waste will be removed by the end of 2022. The College will also embed sustainability into all curriculum areas using the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a benchmark and indicator.

These bold aspirations build on a decade of green credentials and achievements, many award-winning. Since 2010, the College has reduced its carbon emissions by an impressive 63% through various activities and projects. The College has installed a range of sustainable technologies including a biomass plant, solar panels and air source heat pumps, as well as rainwater harvesting, energy-efficient boilers and LED lighting. Waterless urinals are also being installed. Meanwhile, 10 electric vehicles and EV charging infrastructure are now in use across all three campuses.

Dundee and Angus College can also boast a number of ‘firsts’ when it comes to green credentials including being the first college in Scotland to remove all disposable cups, replace all take-away containers with compostable products and turn food waste into compost. Recycled plastic is also replacing traditional tarmac roads and car parks.

Mr Hewitt is also Chairperson of ESP, hosted by Dundee and Angus College. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, ESP is a collaboration of Scotland's colleges and industry partners established to increase Scotland's capability and capacity to deliver the right skills for the energy, engineering and construction sectors to meet industry demand. The Scottish College Principals Group formally recognise ESP as the strategic college sector agency to lead on the Climate Emergency and Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan.

Mr Hewitt said, “Since the Scottish Government declared a climate emergency in 2019, Scotland’s colleges have responded at an institutional level by addressing a range of environmental issues. Now, as Scotland prepares to host the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, it’s only fitting we all come together to commit collectively and collaboratively – not just as colleges but working alongside other strategic and curriculum partners within our communities through our hosting of ESP.

“Here at D&A, we have been playing a lead role within the sector for around 10 years so it’s fitting that we’re committing to reaching some of the targets sooner. As part of my role with Colleges Scotland, we will be defining the drivers which we collectively should be focusing on and driving that agenda. For me, it’s primarily ensuring that our students are ready for the green agenda and that local businesses have the workforce they need to excel. By representing the sector on a national level and seeking funding where needed, it’s our duty as educators to pull together and leave a lasting legacy for the next generation. But it’s also about leading by example, ensuring that our Teaching, Learning, Estates, Operations and Partnerships are all geared to the climate emergency. We are uniquely well-placed to make a tangible difference because of the employers we work with and the communities we serve so, for me, this isn’t a task but a responsibility and an opportunity.”

A spokeswoman for Colleges Scotland added, “As one of our Lead Principals for Climate Change, Simon is a champion for the college sector as we collectively tackle the climate emergency. Colleges have a critical part to play in Scotland’s journey to net zero, providing the skilled workforce we need to change our energy sources, transport patterns and consumer goods, and as organisations colleges are working every day to be greener and more sustainable. Simon’s support, contribution and expertise is much appreciated, and highly valued.”

* Scope 1 covers direct emissions from owned or controlled sources. Scope 2 covers indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating and cooling consumed by the reporting company. Scope 3 includes all other indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain.