Leeds City Council has approved plans which aim to cut the city’s carbon footprint in half in the next five years.
The city currently emits 70,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, and a new, detailed plan has outlined how the city can reduce this to 31,000 by 2025. The ambitious plan will put the city on track to meet a net-zero emissions target by the end of the decade.
Approved just today, the plan will cost a total of £200 million and will require the council to launch a number of schemes to help them meet their target – including:
- A proposed spend of £84m on flood alleviation schemes
- A proposed spend of £15.9m for solar panels and external wall insulation on council houses
- A proposed spend of £7.5m on upgrading electric vehicles
- A proposed spend of £36m to increase the number of properties using the Housing Leeds District heating scheme
- A proposed spend of £31m to improve the efficiency of the street lights and install LEDs
It is hoped that the ambitious project will inspire businesses, individuals and the central government to take action to reduce their own carbon footprints.
In a survey taken by residents, it was revealed that most of the 8,000 participants agreed that businesses and public sector organisations have a responsibility to reduce their carbon footprints and make it easier for individuals to make more environmentally friendly choices. The survey was undertaken by Big Leeds Climate Conversation following a four month public consultation.
Speaking of the decision, Councillor Lisa Mulherin (executive member for climate change, transport and sustainable development) has said:
“Just ten months after declaring a climate emergency, Leeds is setting a new gold standard for what can be achieved at a city level.
“Having held the Big Leeds Climate Conversation we know that there is widespread support from residents for tackling climate change and protecting biodiversity. We are taking immediate and transformative action to make Leeds a fairer, healthier and carbon-neutral city.
“These plans will cut our carbon emissions by more than half, meeting our science-based carbon reduction targets. But the same plans will also have many other benefits that are just as important: creating and sustaining green jobs and improving the health of everyone in the city.
“Like most residents, we believe that all organisations and individuals have a responsibility to live and work more sustainably and I encourage others to follow our lead. We all have a carbon footprint. We all have a responsibility to act now. Every action counts.”
Not only will the project tackle the city’s contribution to the current climate crisis, it will also support jobs in the low-carbon sector, which currently accounts for 430,000 people nationwide – and in addition will look to reduce food-related emissions and improve the health of pupils within the city’s education system.