Transformative next steps needed to create a net zero carbon Leeds City Region by 2038 at the latest have been outlined in a report set to go before business leaders and councillors next week.
Members of West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Green Economy Panel will be presented with the results of a series of low carbon workshops between more than 150 experts as the City Region works to combat the climate emergency.
The workshops involved industry experts, scientists and academics and took place earlier this year after the Combined Authority, the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and its partner councils declared climate emergencies.
The report states: “The workshops demonstrated the wide and strong support for the Combined Authority’s work in this area and the urgent need to act on climate change.
“The scale of the task ahead must not be underestimated: to meet their targets, the City Region must reduce carbon by 14.5% a year, every year, with immediate effect.
The report also sets out that significant additional resources will be required in order to meet this ambition.
To date, measures delivered by the Combined Authority have contributed to an overall 38% reduction in carbon emissions in the City Region since 2005, compared to 27% nationally.
But the report sets out the need for more urgent action as well as well as building on the region’s energy infrastructure which currently generates around 30% of UK electricity from renewable sources.
By Spring 2020, the Combined Authority will undertake further work to determine the contribution different sectors, such as transport and industry, can make towards the net zero target and what key interventions will be needed.
The report also stresses the role the Combined Authority has in influencing the Government for greater clarity on policy and the resources needed to switch to a net zero carbon economy.
Following the workshops, the Combined Authority is now working to refresh its existing Energy Strategy and Delivery Plan to reflect the outcomes and the need for more urgent action.
The Combined Authority and the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (the LEP) are already delivering a wide range of measures including support for businesses to reduce their waste, water and energy bills; measures to improve the energy efficiency of homes and combat fuel poverty; investment in local, low carbon energy schemes such as the Leeds PIPES district heat network; and the introduction of electric vehicle charging points and low emission buses in partnership with local councils and bus operators.