To consider the report of the Director of Resources and Housing outlining the background to the climate emergency, as declared at the Council meeting held on 27th March 2019, and the need for urgent action at a city level. The report also presents the Leeds Climate Commission’s proposals for a science-based climate emissions reduction target and an accompanying roadmap. Further to this, the report provides an update on the progress that the Council has made in reducing carbon emissions through the range of Council led cutting carbon schemes.
The Director of Resources and Housing submitted a report outlining the background to the ‘Climate Emergency’, as declared at the Council meeting held on 27th March 2019 (Minute No. 108 refers), and the need for urgent action at a city level. The report also presented the Leeds Climate Commission’s proposals for a science-based climate emissions reduction target and an accompanying roadmap. Further to this, the report provided an update on the progress that the Council was making in the reduction of carbon emissions through the range of Council led cutting carbon schemes.
The Board welcomed Professor Andy Gouldson, University of Leeds to the meeting, who was in attendance in order to introduce the key work of the Climate Commission, and provide an outline to the main points from the Commission’s ‘roadmap’ for the city.
In considering the report, it was highlighted that the proposals within the report would build upon the range of actions which were already taking place across the city.
Members highlighted the key role that the Council would continue to play in this area, however, it was emphasised that for sustained progress to be achieved the approach taken needed to aim for citywide behavioural change; be in partnership with other organisations, businesses and institutions; and have the support of Leeds citizens, with it being noted that the proposed city ‘conversation’ would be a key part of this process.
Regarding the proposed ‘conversation’, emphasis was placed upon the need for the exercise to be inclusive and meaningful, with it being noted that, following the conclusion of the ‘conversation’, the intention was for the outcomes to be presented to the Board by the end of 2019, together with an accompanying action plan. In addition to this, Members welcomed a suggestion that the cutting carbon agenda be the theme for the Council’s 2019 ‘State of the City’ event.
Further to this, Members emphasised the urgency of this issue, as reflected in the Council’s recent declaration of a ‘Climate Emergency’, but highlighted that although swift action was required, this needed to be balanced alongside the development of a detailed evidence base and a meaningful consultation exercise. As such, it was proposed that the ‘conversation’ would aim to raise awareness, encourage behavioural change and also encourage public and cross-sector engagement. It was also highlighted that any public engagement needed to ensure that key messages were effectively communicated, with reference being made to the economic benefits of promoting this agenda and how it had the potential to positively contribute towards addressing a range of ‘social justice’ issues in the city.
In noting the recommendation to include a new section in all future Executive Board reports which would consider how the Board’s decisions would contribute towards achieving the climate emergency aims, it was suggested that consideration be given to how the cutting carbon agenda could be introduced to other aspects of the Council’s decision making process.
Members discussed the role that Elected Members of all political Groups could play on a working group in monitoring the progress that the Council was making in this area.
With regard to the Climate Commission, it was noted that this group’s multi-agency composition together with its distance from the Council, would help it to effectively track the progress of all organisations across the city, private and public.
In conclusion, the cross-party support offered in respect of progressing this agenda was welcomed, with emphasis being placed upon the need for the Government to be approached to take further, swift action at a national level.
(a) That the recommendations of the Leeds Climate Commission for science based emission reduction targets for the city, together with the accompanying roadmap, as appended to the submitted report, be agreed;
(b) That the facilitation of a city ‘conversation’ on how to achieve the target, based on the roadmap prepared by the Leeds Climate Commission, as detailed within the submitted report, be supported, and that agreement be given for the Board to receive a further report by the end of 2019;
(c) That the inclusion of a new section in all future Executive Board reports which will highlight the impact of the report’s recommendations upon the achievement of the ‘Climate Emergency’ aims, be supported;
(d) That the progress made to date in respect of such matters, be noted; with support continuing to be provided for the range of Cutting Carbon projects that the Council is delivering.