18 June 2019
The Green Party councillors from councils in the Leeds City Region have called on the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) to declare a climate emergency.
Following the lead set by Bradford District Council many of the councils in the Leeds City Region have now declared a ‘Climate Emergency’.
The Green Councillor group is now asking for the WYCA to do more to help reduce emissions across the region.
All Green Party councillors from across the council areas covered by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority have signed the letter including Cllr Andy D’Agorne, the Deputy Leader of City of York Council.
Green Party councillors have led the way across the country by encouraging their local councils to take bold action to reduce their contribution to the climate crisis.
Councillor Andrew Cooper from Kirklees Council has said:
“Currently there doesn’t seem to be any meaningful assessment of the environmental impact of the schemes the authority is funding.
“My colleagues and I say, and the state of the planet demands, that a full climate impact assessment should be produced for each project before decisions are made to proceed with them or not.”
Councillor Ann Forsaith from Leeds City Council added “One of the key roles of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority is improving transport links across the region but currently the authority is too focused on building new roads.
“We need to do much more to make it easier and cheaper for people to ditch their cars and either use public transport or better still turn to walking or cycling.”
Matt Edwards, from Bradford Green Party, who came within one vote of winning a new seat for the Green Party in Tong Ward added
“In the last twelve months we have seen WYCA provide funding for new roads across Bradford District including the new proposed road through the Tong Valley. These schemes do nothing to reduce the overall volume of traffic or help contribute to reducing emissions. In fact this scheme will see the loss of vast areas of green space which we need to preserve to fight climate breakdown.
“I would like to see this money spent on exploring the possibility of reopening a railway station near Laisterdyke and improving the train service between Bradford Interchange and Leeds.”
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that we have only 11 years to bring our greenhouse gas emissions down to levels that will keep the global temperature rise to a survivable 1.5%.
Councillor Cooper added “This clear warning requires action from every level of government including WYCA.”
Full Text of the Letter:
To Members of West Yorkshire Combined Authority,
Many councils in the Leeds City Region have declared a ‘Climate Emergency’. This follows the stark message from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that we have only 11 years to bring our greenhouse gas emissions down to levels that will keep the global temperature rise to a survivable 1.5%. This clear warning requires action from every level of government including the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA).
WYCA is responsible for significant investment in activities that promote economic activity, including the Leeds City Region Local Growth Deal. WYCA has a strong focus on ‘Inclusive Growth’, but will the economic activity we generate be both economically and environmentally sustainable? Can we demonstrate that all the activity that WYCA generates will reduce emissions? Can we demonstrate by how much? Can WYCA demonstrate how it will use its leadership role to reduce emissions amongst its partners in the region?
Currently there appears to be no rigorous assessment of the impact on greenhouse gas emissions of the decisions of the Investment Committee.
In our opinion, given the significant funding of transport and road schemes by the Investment Committee, a full climate impact assessment should be produced for such projects before decisions are made to proceed with them or not.
We are, of course, aware of the valuable work being carried out by the Leeds City Region Green Economy Panel; but we need to look at all the activity being generated by WYCA in totality to ensure it has a positive impact on climate emissions and one that is consistent with the COP21 Paris Climate Goals.
Our request as Green Councillors in the Leeds City Region is to meet with appropriate Councillors/Officers with a view to a meaningful ‘Declaration of a Climate Emergency’ being made by WYCA as soon as possible.
Cllr Andrew Cooper – Kirklees Council
Cllr Karen Allison – Kirklees Council
Cllr Sue Lee-Richards – Kirklees Council
Cllr Ann Forsaith - Leeds City Council
Cllr Anne Blackburn – Leeds City Council
Cllr David Blackburn – Leeds City Council
Cllr Kevin Warnes – Bradford City Council
Cllr Martin Love – Bradford City Council
Cllr Andy D’Agorne – York City Council
Cllr Denise Craghill – York City Council
Cllr Dave Taylor – York City Council
Cllr Rosie Baker – York City Council