To consider a report by the Chief Officer, Sustainable Energy and Air Quality which provides background on the Climate Emergency and the on-going work on air quality.
The Chair introduced and welcomed Andrew Hickford, Project Manager, Resources and Housing who spoke on the recent Leeds Climate Emergency Declaration and “the Big Leeds Climate Conversation” which aims to raise awareness of the need to tackle climate change, find out whether individuals are willing to take action, and explore what residents think about a number of ideas to cut emissions.
Members were informed the Big Leeds Climate Conversation would help develop a citywide plan to work towards becoming a carbon-neutral city by 2030. Residents were being encouraged to take part in an online questionnaire and have had opportunity to take part in conversations about climate change events around the City. Council officers, members of the Leeds Climate Commission and volunteers have had a presence at a number of events and meetings held across the city as part of the campaign.
It is intended that a report summarising the findings of the conversation and an action plan arising from it will be presented to the council’s Executive Board in December 2019.
In offering comment, Members expressed the view that often the response to action was poor, a recent example was the granting of planning permission for 1100 houses in Wetherby. Ward Members said this was not a suitable location for such a large development, it did not meet the test of sustainability, all residents would require a motor vehicle to travel to and from the site, Ward Members, the Town Council and local residents were of the view that the development would be incompatible with the Council’s declaration of a Climate Change Emergency.
In responding, the Project Manager said people need to demonstrate their passion by completing the online questionnaire and put pressure on the Council’s programmes.
Members queried the involvement of local schools in the Air Quality Schools Programme and asked how other schools could become involved.
Members were informed that pupils from Allerton C of E, Wigton Moor and Brodetsky Primary Schools were involved in the Air Quality Schools Programme, participating in; transport surveys, workshops on air quality and anti-idling campaigns outside schools. In terms of reaching out to other schools, it was suggested that the Children and Families website would be able to provide details as to how to become involved together with the Family of Schools.
Commenting on the provision of electric vehicle charging point, it was noted that there were 4 in the Outer North East area. Members queried if there were any proposals to provide EV charging points at: Lotherton Hall and the Arium.
In responding the Project Manager said it was understood there were proposals for EV charging at Lotherton Hall, plans for the installation at the Arium were pending additional works to the site, the power supply being completed but installations were under review.
Referring to air quality, Members referred to the use Photocatalytic paint/ materials which was claimed could help improve air quality and to keep surfaces looking cleaner for longer. It was understood that developers had approached the Council with a view to participating in trailing the materials but the offer had not been taken up.
The Project Manager confirmed that a number of developers were coming forward seeking the support of the Council to participate in trials, the difficulty was establishing the baseline measurements for NOX (Nitrogen Oxides) to evidence any potential benefits.
Members asked if hydrogen vehicles were a possibility in the not too distant future.
Members were informed that hydrogen as a fuel was very clean but there were a number of issues associated with hydrogen powered vehicles. At the moment car manufacturers were not producing hydrogen vehicles in large numbers.
Members queried who was taking the strategic lead on tree planting.
Members were informed that the Council were now in the process of delivering the Climate Emergency Action Plan with the Leadership Team taking the lead across directorates. The Project Manager said tree planting was a massive part of delivering carbon reduction and that actions needed to be considered in terms of resources and it was important that things were done in the right order to ensure maximum benefit from projects was derived.
Commenting on the responses received to date, 2,700 on the Big Leeds Climate Conversation, Members said the response rate appeared to be very low and suggested that most people were unaware of the survey.
In responding the Programme Manager said often with questionnaires/ surveys the general public choose not to engage, and in this particular instance the public do not recognise this as an emergency.
The Chair suggested that the Council could have done more to get the message out there. As a Community Committee we now need to take ownership for the Outer North East area.
In the discussion that followed it was suggested that a Climate Change Workshop be arranged as a priority, with a view to drawing up an action plan for the Outer North East Area. Participants for the workshop should include: Community Committee Members, Parish and Town Councillors and an appropriate Chief Officer.
Members were supportive of the suggestion.
The Chair thanked Mr Hickford for his attendance and presentation.
(i) That the presentation be received and noted
(ii) That a Climate Change Workshop be arranged as a priority, with a view to drawing up an action plan for the Outer North East Area. Participants for the workshop should include: Community Committee Members, Parish and Town Councillors and an appropriate Chief Officer.