Boost for community-led action as Leeds launches climate project

7th October, 2021 - 15:04


An ambitious five-year community project, Climate Action Leeds, launches on Monday (11 October) with a week of events to help empower ordinary people to tackle the climate emergency.

The project, which was awarded funding from the National Lottery, is bringing together communities and organisations in a city-wide effort to transform Leeds to be zero carbon, nature friendly and socially just by the 2030s.

Climate Action Leeds is working to support community groups across the city to take community-led climate action. Part of the project will see a city plan developed to enable all Leeds residents to live well and within Leeds’ environmental limits whilst meeting our wellbeing needs. Key industry sectors are also being engaged to work alongside communities to inspire changes in the crucial areas highlighted by the Leeds Climate Change Citizens' Jury such as energy, housing, food and education.

The packed launch week of events - from 11 - 16 October - includes focused workshops on topics such as transport, nature, work and economy, as well as open-to-all networking and celebration events, plus a support session to help new and existing community groups. Events are happening in person and online so that everyone can get involved, learn and be inspired.

"Exciting time for Leeds"

Alex Sobel, MP for Leeds North West, is speaking at the official online launch event which starts at 6pm on Monday 11 October. He said: “I’m proud that Leeds has such an inspiring and forward-thinking project like Climate Action Leeds to help us face the enormous challenge that is the climate crisis.”

“It is so important that projects like this one seek to empower citizens to take action, as we need action both globally and locally - we have to work together to create the future we want to see.”

“This is an exciting time for Leeds, it’s our chance to be part of something bigger, and to cement our reputation as a forward thinking, innovative and vibrant city with unrivalled community spirit.”

"Putting power back into the hands of residents"

Clarrie Ramsden is part of the community hub Climate Action Seacroft, which has been supported by Climate Action Leeds. Clarrie said: “For me this is about putting some power back into the hands of Leeds residents to be able to do something about the climate emergency we are facing and to say this is what our community wants to see and this is how we can make it happen.”

Professor Paul Chatterton, from the University of Leeds, has been involved since the inception of Climate Action Leeds. He said: “Getting to zero carbon is no small feat but it is definitely doable - we just need the people of Leeds, the council, and our major institutions to work together, to get on board with this and make it happen. Big changes are needed, but they’re changes that will benefit us all massively.”

Climate justice

The project is also centred around climate justice, creating change that is socially sustainable as well as environmentally sustainable. Centuries of unfair societal structures created by colonialism and capitalism mean that the impacts of climate change are being felt most by those who are least responsible for it. By enabling and encouraging industry sectors to support community-led action, Climate Action Leeds hopes to promote the redistribution of power, democratise decision-making, and support self-determination and accountability.

Climate Action Leeds is led by six partner organisations - Voluntary Action Leeds, Our Future Leeds, Leeds Love It Share It, Together For Peace, Leeds Tidal and CAG Consultants, and is supported by over 40 groups in Leeds, many of which contributed to its planning.

Enduring legacy

In 2020 it was announced that the project had been successful in its bid to The National Lottery Climate Fund, securing 2.5 million for the city, creating jobs, and over £400,000 in grants to support an informed and joined up community response to the climate emergency.

Over five years, Climate Action Leeds hopes to help build a movement in Leeds which will have an enduring legacy that lives on far beyond itself, with many more partners involved and more sustainable funding streams. To support this the project is focusing activity across three areas to create meaningful and lasting change; local community hubs, transformation of industry sectors, and city-wide citizen-led action.

Find out more about Climate Action Leeds and the launch week on the website