28 June 2019
Following pressure from Green Party councillors, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) has formally announced a climate emergency, calling for urgent action in the region to tackle climate breakdown.
Earlier this month, all of the Green Party councillors from across the council areas covered by WYCA signed a letter (included below) demanding more action by the authority.
Councillor Andrew Cooper from Kirklees Council has said
“My colleagues in here in Kirklees, Bradford, York, and Leeds have all been instrumental in encouraging their local councils to take bold action to reduce their contribution to the climate crisis and it’s great that the West Yorkshire Combined Authority has also listened to our call.
"We want to see meaningful change in our region so we can start doing more to avoid climate catastrophe.
"We are especially interested to see how WYCA can justify spending the hundreds of millions of pounds on road building schemes such as the Leeds-Bradford Airport Link Road or the newly proposed South East Bradford Access Road through the Tong Valley.
“Currently we have not been shown any meaningful assessment of the environmental impact of the schemes the authority is funding and we want WYCA to go back and review the environmental impact of these schemes
“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.”
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%.
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