Dundee has long been an inspiring contrast between the old and the new; RRS Discovery’s juxtaposition with the V&A and the all-new whale sculpture are clear examples of this.
More recently, it has become a major player in the renewable energy sector, its workforce building and launching the world’s most powerful tidal turbine while the River Tay temporarily hosts the gigantic foundation jackets used in wind power. offshore.
Yet City Councilor Steven Rome, Dundee City Council’s deputy city development coordinator, says it’s this diversity that helps the city reinvent itself.
“There’s the change in mindset,” he says, “Then the physical things. In terms of mindset, we are a very ambitious board and we are fortunate to have ambitious officers supporting us, who are also eager to see the changes we want to see.
“We have two world-class universities on our doorstep that drive smart, we have the infrastructure and we have the Michelin Scotland Innovation Park that the city is a partner of that will be home to these companies of the future that are really doing stuff. leading in the world.
“And that’s the whole point – bringing new technologies to our door that we can then develop and develop, which brings benefits in terms of carbon reduction, but also, above all, jobs for the city. “
Yet the council’s job is to balance these ambitions with caring for its residents in a city that, like others, faces fuel poverty and other social issues.
“These things are complex, it’s not just about reducing carbon emissions, it’s also about tackling these deep-rooted issues and one of the things we’re seeing is that fuel poverty has been a problem. major not only in Dundee but across Scotland. “
While technologies like smart meters can help people save money by providing accurate bills and allowing them to check their energy costs in near real time, he says a lot of work is being done to improve properties themselves.
“Investing in exterior wall insulation makes a huge difference in making these properties more fuel efficient and reducing fuel poverty for the citizens of Dundee,” he adds.
He also remains hopeful that the Dundonians will rise to the climate challenge. He said: “I think everyone realizes the challenges we face as a planet, not just as a city, and I think everyone will want to play a role.”
Playing a role is the key to what motivates Gary Hayes. As the Managing Director of Denny-based CampervanCo, he’s pioneered cleaner travel, the kind of innovation that made my travel possible using the eco-friendly tribrid van he sold me three years ago. .
But he says it’s a race against time.
“Right now we know where we are heading towards the 2030 deadline and we know we need to reduce our pollution and we need to reduce our carbon footprint. More and more people are starting to realize this, ”he explains.
“We see hybrids as a step towards the ultimate goal of net zero emissions. As a company, we’ve set ourselves the goal of designing, building and bringing to market a zero-emission recreational vehicle five years ahead of the government’s 2030 target.
“There are around half a million RVs in the UK and we believe that with this technology we could reduce the footprint of around 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 over the next ten years, if we start looking not only to reduce the carbon we use in driving, but also when stationary.
“No one has really looked at that, but we have diesel heaters, we have gas heaters, we have various other types of heaters. What we are looking for is zero emission heating and cooking on site.
“You go to beautiful areas, you go to vulnerable areas, you want to go to areas of natural beauty, so what we want is that when the vehicles get there they won’t start to pollute, that is. which is currently the case. . “
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