Cascade October 2021

Table of Contents

Chief Executive’s update

Pippa Milne
Pippa Milne, Chief Executive

As world leaders and the global media arrive in Scotland for COP26 this week, it’s important to celebrate our own efforts as we look to reduce carbon emissions across the council.

In this issue, you can find out more about our Challenge Climate Change event happening in Helensburgh where lots of services are coming together to promote green initiatives taking place across the council.

Learn more from Roads and Infrastructure about our electric and hybrid fleet vehicles. There’s an update from the Projects and Transformation Team on how we’re encouraging people to embrace the 20 minute neighbourhood. Find out how Commercial Services have already reduced emissions by 30% and from Education, there’s an update on how outdoor learning is helping to tackle climate change.

The behaviours and actions of our community, employees, service users and customers have a significant impact on our carbon emissions. Our Communications Team is leading on messaging to promote the work of the council and encourage behavioural change to encourage we become a Climate Friendly Argyll and Bute.

Together we can make a huge difference.

A person holds an Argyll and Bute gift card

Projects and Regeneration

The team is working on a number of initiatives designed to encourage more people to reduce their carbon footprint.

We continue to support the national 20 minute neighbourhood campaign. This is about living locally and continuing to invest in our Places, giving people the ability to meet most of their daily needs, within a 20-minute return walk from home, with access to safe cycling and local transport options.

As part of the Scotland Loves Local campaign, we’re encouraging communities to support their local high streets and businesses. Look out for details on a new Argyll and Bute Shop Local gift card coming soon, designed to keep spending local.  The gift card makes the perfect Christmas present!

Climate change is having an effect, with increased rainfall and colder temperatures causing property issues. During November, we’re helping homeowners maintain their properties with handy tips on how they can save hundreds of pounds with just a simple 10 minute guide.

For this year’s Strategic Events and Festivals Fund, we are asking applicants to think about greening their events. We’ll award an extra point to those who can deliver more environmentally sustainable events.

Look out for a range of green events we’re running at Hermitage Park including Children’s arts and crafts using every day and waste materials. There’s a sustainable Christmas event where you can learn how to make your own wrapping, labels and other Christmas items.

Fergus Murray
Head of Development and Economic Growth

Commercial Services

Climate friendly Argyll and Bute logo - a hand holding a green globe

Building on actions we are already taking through our decarbonisation plan, we are adopting renewable energy for council buildings. Moving away from gas and electricity by installing biomass boilers and solar panels has resulted in a 30% reduction in carbon emissions. This number is expected to continue to fall. 

Schools across Argyll and Bute are using locally sourced ingredients and local suppliers, which helps to not only tackle climate change but also supports local businesses across the Council area. Primary school meals hold the Soil Association Food for Life Served Here award which demonstrates the commitment to providing local, sustainable and ethical food for our children and young people.

Ross McLaughlin
Head of Commercial Services

Roads and Infrastructure 

One of the council's fleet hybrid carsEvery service in the council plays its part in fighting the climate change crisis. Roads and Infrastructure Services is looking to new and exciting technology to meet the challenge.

  • 4% of the council fleet is made up of electric and hybrid vehicles, part funded through Transport Scotland’s Switched-on Fleets Grant.
  • There are now 28 electric vehicle charging points across the area with a strong plan to extend the network further into priority areas where there is demand and need.
  • Our investment in new LED street lights has not just improved the quality of light. Since the project began in 2017-18, the CO2 emitted has almost halved which is great news for the environment.
  • We’re working on flood protection for our coastal towns. Some plans have already been submitted to the Scottish Government for funding.
  • Reduce, reuse and recycle is at the heart of our waste strategy. Our three-weekly general waste collections and increased two-weekly recycling collections offers more capacity for recycled materials and helps to reduce landfill.
  • We’re recycling materials for road repairs on islands to reduce quarrying, haulage and disposal. Future ferry connections may well be driven by non-fossil fuels and that’s something we’re looking into now

    Jim Smith
    Head of Roads and Infrastructure


New composting toiletsEducation is at the heart of tackling climate change and our schools are doing some amazing things to raise awareness about the importance of looking after the environment and reducing our carbon footprint.

Our youngest learners spend at least 50% of their time taking part in outdoor activities and we have three dedicated outdoor nurseries where children can get close to nature and take part in fun education activities while learning about biodiversity from an early age. Our outdoor nurseries also have innovative waterless toilets to minimise environmental impact by avoiding the installation of underground waste water pipes that would have a detrimental impact to the existing natural woodland environment.

Global citizenship plays a key role in our schools, 31 of which currently hold a Keep Scotland Beautiful Green Flag Award for their efforts. Just this week we hosted our first ever Education Climate Summit, attracting a wide ranging audience from across Scotland. From creating their own vegetable gardens, to taking part in forest schools and planting  wild flowers to encourage and enhance biodiversity in school grounds, each and every child in Argyll and Bute is playing a key role in the worldwide effort to address global warming.

Jennifer Crocket
Head of Education – Lifelong Learning and Support

Challenge Climate Change Event

Event poster shows sunlit woods with details of the eventWe’re hosting our first ever Challenge Climate Change event on Saturday 6 November in the Helensburgh and Lomond Civic Centre. The family friendly event is open to the public and gives people the opportunity to find out more about what we can all do to live and work in a climate friendly way.

Staff from across different services will be there on the day promoting green initiatives. Join us for children’s activities, green market stalls and a range of speakers covering climate friendly topics.

Pop in from 12-4pm.

COP26 Travel advice

A map detailing all affected routes in and around GlasgowThe UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) is being held in Glasgow from 31 October until 12 November.

As a result, a number of roads in the city centre will be closed during this time. Alternative routes will be in place but, with travel disruptions likely, motorists are being urged to plan their journeys in advance and travel out with peak times.

If you live in or near Glasgow, or intend to travel to the city during this time, please consider if your journey is essential before setting off.

Information needed to plan ahead is available at including full details of all the roads, footpaths and cycle ways that are going to be closed. The site also has details of all the alternative routes and day-by-day ‘heat’ maps which show where congestion is expected because of specific COP26 events.

Oban City Status

A picture of Oban with McCaig's Tower lit up with the words Oban, Scotland in one place. Back Oban city status.Please help Argyll and Bute beat UK-wide competition for city status and win it for Oban!

“The council’s bidding for city status for Oban, to create opportunities for external investment, for essential infrastructure and other needs that are beyond the resources of the council.

We’re in competition with other towns across the UK, so need your help – please let us know you support city status by clicking on the button at the bottom of this page –

Why are we promoting ‘Oban – Scotland in one place?’

We have to show how Oban stands out from our competitors.

We believe that it is the combination of Oban’s many great features that makes it special; other areas may have great scenery for example, or ambitions for growth; Oban however has something of everything associated positively with Scotland.

‘Oban – Scotland in one place’ conveys this for the city status bid; and is a good advert for the area as a tourist destination.

In addition, when a city status competition was run in 2012, Scotland, England, and Wales all got a city; with that in mind, it’s to be hoped that it’s easier to say yes to ‘Scotland in one place’ than to one town among many in Scotland.

This is a rare and exciting opportunity – help us win it for Argyll and Bute –

Fergus Murray
Head of Development and Economic Growth

Our Modern Workspace

Image shows files on top of each other in foldersWe’re working hard to transform our offices so that long term we can move to the home/office mix of working that most of you have told us you would like.

A reminder that good housekeeping, file management and clearing of clutter from desks will be a key part of this transformation. It is good practice to keep desks clear and is normal practice for anyone who used to use a flex desk.

By 30 November, please tell us at

  • What if anything do you need to sort your office space, for example, confidential waste collections or scanning help?
  • What storage will you need long term?

If you are one of the few people expected to be in an office five days a week, this is less vital for you as you will be in the office every day, but as we move towards digital information / data storage you should also let us know if you need anything to help with the housekeeping

Shirley Johnstone
Change Manager

Winter Teams backgrounds

A wintery landscape of InverarayOur Argyll and Bute backgrounds for Microsoft Teams have proved really popular. In fact, the download page has become one of the most visited pages on the Hub.

Thanks for using the backgrounds and for promoting the area’s stunning scenery when you’re in meetings – particularly with people outside Argyll and Bute.

Now we’re moving into winter, we thought it would be a good idea to put up some seasonal images and once again, we’ve made use of photography from our talented employees. Enjoy the views! 

Download background for Teams

Have you heard about our Digital Champions programme?

A graphic shows a woman sitting at her desk with a laptop talking to a colleagueAs you may know, we are migrating our core ICT systems to Microsoft 365. This is designed to make simple day-to-day tasks easier and to help us work together and more efficiently across the council.

We are launching a digital champions programme to support the roll out of the MS365 suite that features a range of applications to allow us to work smarter not harder. 

Digital champions will play a key role in supporting colleagues to ensure they have the skills required to use Microsoft 365. We’re looking for friendly, approachable people who are looking to learn new skills and share them with colleagues. Becoming a digital champion is a great development opportunity. You will get access to training, support from a network of champions and learn how technology can help you and your colleagues.

Find out more about becoming a digital champion and how to sign up.

Get in touch

A post it note with 'contact us' written on itOur new staff website is a great way of celebrating achievements, sharing news from your service and getting to know colleagues.

There’s also a noticeboard to promote any fundraising or events coming up.

We would love to hear from you. Contact us by emailing