As we look forward to world leaders visiting Glasgow next month for the COP26 climate change conference, we will all be challenged to consider what we can do to protect the future health of the environment.

Therefore, it was with immense pride that I attended the official opening of the West Dunbartonshire Energy Centre at Queens Quay last week.

When fully operational the system will deliver a reduction of around 2,000 tonnes of carbon from the environment each year compared to previous levels, making Clydebank one of the greenest areas in Scotland.

This low carbon system reflects West Dunbartonshire’s commitment to play our part in the worldwide effort to address the ongoing climate emergency.

Further along the Clyde, I was thrilled to visit Bowling Harbour for the opening of the Bowline walkway and cycle path, another significant step ahead in the regeneration of the town.

This addition brings a new national active travel route enabling off-road access from central Scotland to Loch Lomond, thanks to a collective investment of £10 million from all our partners, including Scottish Canals, Sustrans, the Scottish Government, Coastal Communities Fund from the Big Lottery, Historic Environment Scotland, Forth Valley & Lomond LEADER programme, and West Dunbartonshire Council.

The project is the next step to transforming the National Cycle Network into traffic-free routes for all, connecting cities, towns, and rural areas – again in keeping with our commitment to greener living.

Finally, our gratitude to our emergency services heroes was marked with a flag raising ceremony at the council headquarters on 999 Emergency Services Day. Launched in 2018, the national day of tribute is now an annual fixture when the nation celebrates its emergency personnel and remembers those killed in the line of duty.

Throughout the pandemic our communities have relied heavily on our emergency services so it was important that we mark this day, and it was a personal privilege to recognise the work the police, fire and rescue and ambulance services carry out, particularly in recent and continuing challenging circumstances. I thank them all for their service and remember that in the line of their duties, some have suffered injury or lost their lives.