Glasgow City Council has unveiled plans to seek private investment to fund the “massive challenge” of reducing the city’s carbon emissions and adapting to climate change.

A paper set to go before council committee  has proposed the formation of a green investment team that would seek to “unlock the £40billion of investment needed for Glasgow’s Net Zero ambitions” - and seeks £4 million of public funds to set it up.

This private investment drive was announced against a backdrop of savage cuts. In the last decade half a billion pounds has been wiped from Glasgow City Council's budget. In an attempt to tackle the local authority's  almost £108 million shortfall over the next three years, last week’s budget saw an increase in parking charges and cuts to education and waste services.

Glasgow has committed to Net Zero by 2030. The paper, which is to go before the council’s Net Zero and Climate Progress Monitoring Committee next week has indicated that there is a need to accelerate the delivery of the city’s carbon reduction project - but public funding is scarce.

Councillor Susan Aitken described the climate emergency as the “issue of our times”.

She said: “To meet this challenge and deliver the large-scale interventions that will decarbonise our city, it has long been clear that private sector investment is required. It is not possible for the council alone to make the changes that are needed."

The paper proposes that £4m should be allocated for the creation of the specialist green investment team which will seek partnerships in the private sector.  It will aim to attract investment to the city for climate initiatives such as local heating networks, energy efficiency in buildings, renewable energy projects, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and other schemes that can accelerate decarbonisation.

The Herald: Susan Aitken

Cllr Aitken said: “The scale of opportunity for investors is enormous. Our Local Heating and Energy Efficiency Strategy, for example, shows that almost two-thirds of Glasgow residents could benefit from a connection to a district heating network. It is the kind of plan that will attract investors as they will see the potential for a return on their investment.

The approach is inspired by climate action plans from other cities, for instance, Bristol City Council, whose partnership with American renewable energy company, Ameresco aims to invest £500m in decarbonising, and the Greater London Authority, whose project, The Edge, involves a partnership with Sustainable Development Capital LLP that has created a £100m fund to support energy efficiency.

READ MORE: Glasgow council heat pump and heat networks plan

READ MORE Council bosses demand net zero 'roadmap' amid fears over 2030 targets

Cllr Aitken said: “Major cities such as London and Bristol with similar ambitions to Glasgow have shared their knowledge and experience on net zero finance. But the specialist team we intend to form we will be focused on creating and delivering a green investment model that works for Glasgow. The city has great record of attracting inward investment and I am confident the step we are about to take will ultimately take us to a net zero Glasgow.”

World-leading business experts fDI Intelligence recently ranked Glasgow as Europe’s number one city for bringing in overseas investment.

Glasgow declared a climate emergency in 2019 and the following year council and partners published the Glasgow Climate Plan. In 2021 it launched  its  £30 billion  'Greenprint for Investment', to highlight portfolio of transformative climate investment projects to boost its 2030 Net-Zero goal.

Members of the Net Zero and Climate Progress Monitoring Committee will be asked to refer the paper to the City Administration Committee where approval of the £4m funding award can be given.