Tackling the Climate Emergency

Growing our economy while cutting emissions and caring for our environment.

Growing our economy while cutting emissions and caring for our environment.


Why we have prioritised this

With increasing urgency, we need to ensure that growth in the region does not hamper our efforts to tackle the climate emergency. In June 2019 a climate emergency was declared for the region and we are now placing increased emphasis on our commitment to clean growth and our ambition to become a net zero carbon economy by 2038. As demonstrated by the increasing severity of flooding in West Yorkshire, climate change poses a very real threat to the economy and the livelihoods of many in our region.

How we will achieve this

The Combined Authority approved the Leeds City Region Energy Strategy and Delivery Plan (ESDP) and its Green and Blue Infrastructure Strategy and Delivery Plan (GBISDP) in December 2018. Both have enabled the City Region to make good progress so far in tackling the climate emergency whist supporting nature recovery. The Energy Strategy prioritises 5 key areas that the Combined Authority, LEP and partners will work towards:

  • Resource-efficient businesses and industry: we will increase support to help companies reduce their energy costs and carbon emissions.
  • New energy generation: we will develop an energy network that provides locally generated low-cost, low carbon energy to homes and businesses including district heat networks and the landmark H21 hydrogen energy project in Leeds.
  • Energy efficiency and empowering consumers: we will help households become more energy-efficient, lower their energy bills and reduce fuel poverty.
  • Smart grid systems integration: we will develop the technology and infrastructure that enables people and businesses to use energy more intelligently.
  • Efficient and integrated transport: we will target investment and influence transport operators to develop a sustainable transport network, including a greater proportion of electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles and increase opportunities for cycling and walking.

In light of the climate emergency declaration in 2019 and net zero target by 2038, the West Yorkshire Emission Reduction Pathways (ERP) study has also been commissioned to demonstrate the different ways in which the net zero carbon target could be met. Emerging findings suggest a range of actions we should start to develop now, as a minimum:

  • Increase the levels of travel by walking, cycling, bus and rail
  • Maximise home working, teleconferencing and greater co-location of housing with workplaces and amenities.
  • Retrofit nearly 700,000 of West Yorkshire’s homes with energy efficiency measures such as loft and cavity wall insulation.
  • Install heat pump heating systems in over 300,000 of West Yorkshire’s homes
  • Generate enough electricity from onshore wind and solar within West Yorkshire to cover the power demands of over 162,000 homes
  • Investigate how carbon capture and storage technology
  • Increase the area of woodland / forest coverage in the region by the equivalent of 452 football pitches
  • Over 2020/21 we will complete the ERP and codesign with partners a new Tackling the Climate Emergency Action Plan. Building on the work of the ESDP and GBISDP, this will refresh our current plans and incorporate new ambitious actions as identify in the ERP to deliver the net zero carbon target over the next 18 years.

Policies and strategies  

The policies and strategies we have in place that will play a leading role in tackling the climate emergency are:

How we’re delivering on this priority

Over 30 projects have commenced since the ESDP was approved. Some of the projects we’re undertaking with partners to tackle the climate emergency include:

  • ULEV Taxi Scheme: As a result of a successful £2 million bid to the Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), West Yorkshire Combined Authority and its partner local authorities - Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield Councils are installing 88 rapid vehicle charging points across West Yorkshire.
  • Leeds PIPES: The Leeds PIPES district heat network, which will benefit from £4 million from Leeds City Region Growth Deal funding, will bring low carbon, lower cost heating and hot water to the city of Leeds, while also cutting 22,000 tonnes of carbon emissions every year.
  • Warm Homes: Our Leeds City Region Warm Homes programme will help more than 700 households across the City Region lower their fuel bills and keep their homes warm.
  • Energy Accelerator: 16 low / zero carbon projects are receiving free project development support through this flagship programme. This includes several district heat network projects and a range of energy projects on the public and NHS estate.

Monitoring and impact

We will monitor progress towards meeting this priority against the following headline indicators:

  • CO2 emissions (ktCO2): Carbon dioxide emissions estimates at local authority level
  • CO2 emissions (ktCO2) by sector (domestic, industrial and commercial, and transport): Contribution of different sectors of local economy to total carbon emissions
  • Emissions intensity ratio: Ratio of carbon emissions to gross value added
  • Access to Green and Blue Infrastructure: % of population within easy reach of network of green and blue infrastructure
  • Building energy efficiency: Average Energy Performance Certificate rating of domestic properties