In-depth study into how to decarbonise Leeds City Region will accelerate region’s response to climate emergency

The first stage of a net zero carbon plan will be presented to the Green Economy Panel

The first stage of an ambitious plan to radically cut carbon emissions across the City Region whilst creating new jobs and improving housing will be presented by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. 

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, which is known as the Emission Reduction Pathways Study, will be presented to the Green Economy Panel, which is made up of councillors, business leaders and environmental experts, on Tuesday 7 July. 

Members of the Panel will also receive on update on what has been achieved in the 12 months including: 

  • The Energy Accelerator - an innovative project which offers free support to low carbon projects such as street lighting and district heat networks - is currently supporting 16 projects across the Leeds City Region which will result in 25,000 tonnes of CO2 being saved annually. 
  • Better Homes Yorkshire, a scheme to address fuel poverty and poor energy efficiency, will deliver improvements to 1,000 homes by the end of 2020. 
  • ReBiz, a business support scheme, was launched in January providing grants to help SMEs improve their energy and resource efficiency. Despite the impact of Covid-19, the scheme has already saved 16 tonnes of CO2.  
  • By July 2021, 88 charging points for ultra-low emission vehicles, including taxis, will be operational around the region.   

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the Combined Authority and Leader of Braford Council, said: 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. 

“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. 

The full agenda for the Green Economy Panel meeting can be found here. The work on the Emissions Reduction Pathways will also be presented to the full Combined Authority meeting on Tuesday 27 July.