Combined Authority to improve way it calculates carbon cost of transport and infrastructure projects in response to climate emergency

Impact of more than 180 schemes to be assessed as Leeds City Region works towards being a net zero carbon economy by 2038 at the latest

A detailed carbon audit of infrastructure and transport schemes funded by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (the LEP) will be undertaken as part of their response to the climate emergency. 

The audit will look at more than 180 programmes being funded through the Leeds City Region Growth Deal and the West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund to assess both current and future projected carbon emissions.  

The Combined Authority and the LEP declared a City Region wide climate emergency last June and are working with their partners towards being a net zero carbon economy by 2038 at the latest, with significant progress by 2030. 

In order to reach the ambitious target, carbon emissions in the City Region must be reduced by 14.5% year-on-year and halved every five years 

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council, said: “The climate emergency is one of the biggest challenges we face and will require fundamental changes in how we all live our lives – from the way we travel to how we heat our homes. 

“It’s vital that we have a clear picture of the impact our investment schemes will have on the environment now and in the future, and how we factor those projected carbon emissions into our long-term plan to make the Leeds City Region a net zero carbon economy. 

“Everything we do needs to be based on scientific evidence to make sure we are focussing on the actions which will make the biggest impact.  This audit, combined with other decarbonisation work we’re undertaking, will provide that evidence.” 

Roger Marsh OBE DL, Chair of the LEP, said: “The scale of the challenge facing us is enormous and we must ensure that we’re targeting our investment in the right areas so that everyone can benefit from a net zero carbon economy. 

“This is a huge opportunity for us to reset our economy and to build the kind of world our children and grandchildren can thrive in. In tackling the climate emergency, we can also embrace new technologies such as hydrogen power, improve the energy efficiency of our homes and other buildings, and upskill our people so they can excel in the careers of the future.” 

As well as the carbon audit, the Combined Authority is also developing a more rigorous way of assessing carbon impacts for developing and approving future schemes. Once developedall new projects will have to use this strengthen assessment. 

The Combined Authority will also receive technical advice and training support for its staff which will ensure that reducing carbon emissions are at the heart of all projects from the early stages, through to the design and development 

The results of the carbon audit will be available in Autumn 2020.