Leeds votes to declare a climate emergency

3rd April, 2019 - 13:21


Leeds City Council has passed a Motion to declare a climate emergency in the city.

The majority vote, for a White Paper Motion presented by Council Leader, Cllr Judith Blake, was passed at a full Council meeting on 27 March 2019.

In passing the Motion, the Council resolved not only to declare a climate emergency, but to sign up to a science based carbon reduction target consistent with achieving the Paris Agreement of no more than 1.5°C global temperature increase.

The resolution included working to make Leeds carbon neutral by 2030 and calling on central government to provide the funding and powers to make this possible.

Siginificant role for Leeds Climate Commission

Leeds Climate Commission is cited in the Motion, with the White Paper resolving to work with the Commission to run a conversation with residents, Trade Unions, public sector organisations, businesses and the third sector on developing a plan with the actions and milestones required to reach the 2030 target.

The Commission has written a report, which includes a carbon roadmap for achieving the 2030 target, which will be presented to the Council's Executive on Monday 8 April. The report will also be published on the Climate Commission's website. 

A report on the outcome of the city-wide conversation is to be presented to the Council's Executive Board by the end of 2019.

The White Paper notes that, "Through collaboration with the Leeds Climate Commission ... it is now one of the leading local authorities in the country in this area. This is underlined by the unprecedented scale of investment prioritised by this Council towards carbon reduction measures.

"This includes our innovative Leeds PIPES district heating scheme, our investment to improve the energy performance of council housing and in area based regeneration schemes to support both private and council housing improvements, and our investment to become the leading authority in the country for changing our fleet to Electric Vehicles."

Residents "demanding action" on climate change

The Council notes that many Leeds residents are demanding action on climate change, as demonstrated through actions such as the recent ‘Youth Strike. 

It also "recognises that individuals cannot be expected to make this reduction on their own. Society needs leadership at international, national and local level. Council is aware that current plans and actions are not enough. The world is on track to overshoot the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit before 2050.

"All governments nationally and locally have a duty to limit the negative impacts of global warming. Local councils should not wait for their national governments to change their policies. It is important for the residents of Leeds and the UK that cities commit to carbon neutrality as quickly as possible."