Low carbon homes and commercial premises, rain and shade gardens and renewable energy generation are just a few of the ideas set to be investigated as Renfrewshire aims to ensure its town centres are climate resilient.

As part of its response to declaring a climate emergency in 2019, Renfrewshire Council has allocated an initial £1million to its Climate Change Action Fund for research, feasibility studies and immediate projects to tackle climate change.

From the fund, £75,000 has been committed to look at opportunities to adapt town centres in relation to the changing climate, be it increased risk of flooding or higher temperatures.

A study will be carried out to develop a set of interventions, which may include new flood prevention measures, recycling and waste collection hubs, or the creation of renewable energy or heat sources, which will have the potential to attract funding for delivery over the next three to four years.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “We recognise that a certain degree of climate impact is expected in the coming years, although through events such as COP26, we hope that world leaders can agree to actions that will limit the impact as far as possible.

“It’s important though that we prepare for higher temperatures or the risk of extreme weather events and this study will ensure that our town centres can be prepared to deal with the impact of climate change and harness any positives that this brings.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what opportunities are available for all our town centres as we strive to reach our ambitious target of becoming carbon-neutral by 2030.”

erz have been commissioned to carry out the work and will lead a research team that will include Strathclyde University Department of Architecture, John Gilbert Architects  and Enviro-Centre, Dougall Baillie Associates, Nick Wright Planning and Armour Construction Consultants.

The project team will analyse opportunities within green infrastructure, low carbon buildings and energy strategies, renewable heat and energy sources, sustainable urban drainage and flood management, active travel and landscape and public realm.

Rolf Roscher, Director of erz, who is leading the study team, said: “There are a number of challenges already faced by town centres across Scotland and the climate emergency presents a further range of challenges across society.

“Town centres however offer great opportunities as they are fundamentally very sustainable. Climate adaptation and mitigation measures can help to enhance and reinvigorate Renfrewshire’s fantastic town centres.

“We have a great project team, with experts across a wide range of fields. This is an important and exciting piece of work and we are delighted to support Renfrewshire Council in their response to the climate emergency.”

Following the declaration of a climate emergency, Renfrewshire Council created a working group with members of all political parties to make recommendations on how Renfrewshire can be carbon-neutral by 2030, which has now been formalised as the Climate Change Sub-Committee.

The Climate Change Action Fund was created to support innovative projects and initiatives being developed by Council services in response to the climate emergency, with an initial £1million committed to a range of research, feasibility studies and immediate projects.

The Renfrewshire Climate Panel will bring a representative group of residents together to help shape the direction of the Council’s climate change planning and ensure that a collaborative approach can be established between the community and the Council. For more information on the Council’s work to tackle climate change in Renfrewshire, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/climatechange