Communities were today challenged to 'cut the carbon' and release their greener potential.
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment Richard Lochhead said a new £17 million Climate Challenge Fund would give communities across Scotland an unprecedented opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint.
Ministers recently unveiled a target of an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050 though their proposed Scottish Climate Change Bill, and the Fund will help Scotland achieve these aims.
Mr Lochhead was speaking ahead of his address to the Findhorn Foundation Easter Conference. The groundbreaking work of the Foundation means that Findhorn has the lowest ecological footprint in UK.
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Mr Lochhead said: "Communities have an absolutely crucial role to play in tackling climate change - both locally and globally. We need to put them in charge of their own destinies and release their potential.
"The Scottish Government is committed to delivering a greener Scotland for everyone to enjoy. Both the public and private sectors have a crucial role to play but real and lasting change often starts locally.
"To harness the potential of communities we are working with the Green Party and others to make £17.3 million available over the next three years through the Climate Challenge Fund. This will enable them to take a range of actions to reduce significantly their carbon emissions.
"We will open the Fund to applications and outline how communities can apply in the near future. The application process will be kept as simple as possible and support will be provided throughout."
The Climate Challenge Fund (CCF) was announced as part of the Spending Review. The funding level was increased during the passage of the Budget Bill and confirmed on January 31, 2008.