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13.01.20

Leeds City Council approves plans to cut carbon emissions by 2025

Leeds City Council have taken the next steps to address the local authority’s climate emergency declaration from March, as senior councillors approved plans to cut the council’s carbon footprint by more than half by 2025.

The new proposals will see Leeds City Council reduce its greenhouse gas emissions from 70,000 to 31,000 tonnes over the five year period, in line with science-based carbon reduction targets.

It is hoped that the council’s ambitious plans will inspire individuals, businesses and central government to follow its example and reduce their own carbon footprint.

Following a four-month public consultation by the Big Leeds Climate Conversation, more than 97% of the 8,000 respondents surveyed said they believed that combating climate change and protecting biodiversity should be a priority for Leeds.

Most residents agreed that both businesses and public sector organisations have a responsibility to reduce their own carbon footprints and to make it easier for individuals to make environmentally friendly choices.

In a detailed report. discussed by the council's Climate Emergency Advisory Committee, the council has revealed its plan for reducing its carbon emissions by 55%.

By purchasing electricity from renewable sources, the local authority will reduce its carbon footprint by more than 30,000 tonnes. The commitment will also support jobs in the UK’s growing low-carbon sector which employs more than 430,000 people nationwide.

The council’s bold plans also look at working in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and members of the UK energy sector to double the number of properties receiving affordable, sustainable heat from the city’s district heating network.

Electric vehicle usage within the council’s fleet will also be targeted to be doubled from its current 95 vehicles, as well as looking to reduce food-related emissions and improve the health of pupils within the education system.

READ MORE: Cambridge City Council cuts carbon emissions by a quarter

READ MORE: Gloucestershire council to reduce carbon emissions by 89%

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, executive member for climate change, transport and sustainable development, said: “Just ten months after declaring a climate emergency, Leeds is setting a new gold standard for what can be achieved at a city level.

 "Having held the Big Leeds Climate Conversation we know that there is widespread support from residents for tackling climate change and protecting biodiversity. We are taking immediate and transformative action to make Leeds a fairer, healthier and carbon-neutral city.

 "These plans will cut our carbon emissions by more than half, meeting our science-based carbon reduction targets. But the same plans will also have many other benefits that are just as important: creating and sustaining green jobs and improving the health of everyone in the city.

"Like most residents, we believe that all organisations and individuals have a responsibility to live and work more sustainably and I encourage others to follow our lead. We all have a carbon footprint. We all have a responsibility to act now. Every action counts.”

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Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, added: "Tackling the climate emergency is one of the council’s key priorities and I am proud that this council is taking ambitious and necessary steps to make Leeds a more sustainable city and an even better place to live.

"However, we have always said that becoming a carbon neutral city won’t be possible without the support of the government. With additional powers and funding devolved from Westminster, the council and partners could radically improve the city’s housing stock and transport network to enable sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

"Of course, Leeds City Council will continue to do everything we can to fight the climate emergency but until the additional powers and funding we need are devolved by central government to a local level, this city’s ability to tackle climate change will continue to be severely hindered."

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