The West Yorkshire Combined Authority has presented the first stage of an ambitious plan to radically cut carbon emissions across Leeds City Region whilst creating new jobs and improving housing.
The Combined Authority has been working with a team of low carbon energy specialists since formally declaring a climate emergency last year which was supported by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (the LEP), local authorities and businesses.
The initial results of part of the plan – known as the ‘Emission Reduction Pathways Study’ – was presented to the Green Economy Panel, which is made up of councillors, business leaders and environmental experts, earlier this week.
“Tackling the climate emergency is one of the biggest challenges our region faces and it’s vital this feeds into our long-term recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the Combined Authority and Leader of Braford Council.
“In producing this study we are demonstrating that our action on climate change is not about applying superficial changes to what we are doing but understanding the scale of the challenge and opportunity so we can take meaningful action.
“This will be challenging and the measures needed will require us all to make changes – for example, the way we travel, heat our homes and the jobs that we do. But it’s vital that we take big steps now to create a region where future generations can enjoy the economic opportunities and improved health that a net zero carbon economy will bring.”
The study recommends a number of actions that need to be taken including retrofitting 680,000 homes to improve energy efficiency, increasing public transport capacity by 55% and restoring 100% of our region’s peatlands.
Later this year, a series of virtual workshops will take place with local authorities, climate experts and businesses to look at interventions to reduce emissions and inform a series of policy recommendations.
This will be followed by a public consultation which will give people the opportunity to have their say on the policies being proposed.