Local people in Renfrewshire are helping to shape the area’s response to the climate emergency by playing their part on the Renfrewshire Climate Panel.

Led by Renfrewshire Council, the panel brings together a diverse, cross section of Renfrewshire residents to pass on their ideas and feedback about the area’s ongoing work to tackle climate change – and the panel played a crucial role in the creation of Renfrewshire’s Plan for Net Zero.

Gillian Lochhead lives locally in Johnstone and jumped at the chance to be part of the panel and is enjoying helping to shape how Renfrewshire responds to the climate emergency.

Gillian Lochhead

Gillian said: “The impact climate change is having on our lives is catastrophic, with countries experiencing major flooding, fires due to the extreme heat and even droughts taking place in Asia.

“The way in which our world is changing affects us massively now and forever and we need to make sure the world we leave is still here for thousands of years to come.

“Although I do my part, no fast fashion, vegetarian, I recycle, use reusable products and more – it is not enough if major companies, councils and countries do not come together.”

The climate panel meets on a monthly basis and are guided through a presentation of ongoing work and future plans to tackle climate change in Renfrewshire, with feedback essential to ensure that what is put forward is right for the area and its communities.

Gillian added: “I loved being part of the panel. I finally felt I could voice my thoughts and opinions – and they were heard and taken on board.

“We had people from the climate change team, waste management and other areas of the council speaking to the panel and there was time to discuss issues with those leading the panel and other attendees.

“It’s amazing to see a council speak to its residents like this and taking climate change so seriously – even bringing on a climate emergency lead to really drive this forward.

“The panel has a variety of age ranges involved and it would be great to see more people from different backgrounds joining the panel in the future.”

The panel played a key part in the preparation of Renfrewshire’s Plan for Net Zero which sets out how the area will work towards net zero emissions by 2030, working to five key themes of clean energy, sustainable transport, circular economy, connected communities and resilient place.

Gillian said: “Without a plan, structure, and strategy, tackling climate change is nothing more than a broken promise. So, to have a council so transparent and open about their thoughts, aims and solutions is really refreshing.

“It’s about how to make this climate emergency and Renfrewshire’s goals accessible and inclusive. It’s all well and good to say that you will get communities involved but without a process, a strategy, being inclusive and having accessible tools – they can’t play their part. We need to be provided with our tools to do our part and if you give us what we need, we will follow.”

There is already so much work going on within Renfrewshire to tackle climate change, with £1million committed to the Climate Change Action Fund for projects and initiatives that will reduce emissions.

Councillor Jim Paterson, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Planning and Climate Change Policy Board, said: “The Climate Panel has been a fantastic way to engage local people in our climate change planning and their feedback has been invaluable for our team as they created the first phase of our Plan for Net Zero.

“As a council, we will work hard to become net zero as an organisation, but we will also do all we can to provide the support and guidance required for our businesses, communities and partners to reach net zero too as we know it’s only through a collaborative approach that we will make the radical difference needed.

“We will lead the way in Renfrewshire, and I encourage all of our communities, businesses and partners to get in touch, join our Ren Zero campaign and be part of the generational change that we are undertaking in Renfrewshire.”

To see the ongoing work to reduce emissions in Renfrewshire and join the Ren Zero campaign, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/climatechange.


Founder of Paisley.org.uk in 1998 and constantly strives to change peoples attitudes to the town, Brian is a self described Paisley Digital Champion who promotes Paisley via any means necessary. You can also follow me on X