Agenda item

Climate Emergency: Annual Climate Emergency report & CEAC update

To consider the Annual Climate Emergency Report and an update on the activity of the Climate Emergency Advisory Committee.


The report of the Head of Democratic Services submitted a report that provided the Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities) an update on the work of the Council’s Climate Emergency Advisory Committee, and provides an opportunity to explore the Annual Climate Emergency report.


Appended to the report included copies of the Executive Board Annual Report on the Climate Emergency, the Leeds Climate Commission Annual Report 2020 and the Annual Report to Full Council.


The following were in attendance for this item:

o  Councillor Hayden, Executive Member for

o  Councillor Walshaw, CEAC Chair

o  Neil Evans, Director of Resources and Housing

o  Polly Cook, Chief Officer Sustainable Energy and Air Quality


The Chief Officer Sustainable Energy and Air Quality introduced the report, providing a general overview of the Climate Emergency Advisory Committee (CEAC) in terms of its public engagement, ongoing work with businesses and community events, as well as the strategies and polices being looked at by the various working groups with the climate emergency being a main priority. It was noted that 45 million pounds had been secured to deliver retrofitting on housing.


Members were provided with a short presentation setting out the Council’s responses to questions on behalf of the Local Government Association. The following had been highlighted:

·  The understanding of the Council on the need to take action locally;

·  The declaration of the climate emergency and the appointment of a Cabinet Member with responsibility for climate change;

·  The Council’s plans for the climate emergency and the main adaption work of the Council being the Flood Alleviation Scheme;

·  The Council’s commitment in embedding the climate emergency in every procurement process and the benefits to Leeds from a piece of West Yorkshire consultancy work to Build Carbon Reduction into Local Authority Procurement Processes;

·  Plans such as the large scale district heating system and addressing the carbon footprint to integrate sustainability and resilience into the Council’s transport and energy plans;

·  The measures in place to promote climate education, diversifying the labour market and focusing on sectors that are sustainable;

·  The creation of a vulnerability index to monitor those who are at most risk of climate change the flood prevention measures taken;

·  The Leeds Climate Commission brings together key organisations, providing advice on steps towards a low carbon and climate resilient future.


Members’ discussed a number of matters including:

·  The latest position on replacing gas with hydrogen. Members heard that money has been set aside from the Government to undertake testing, and work is ongoing nationally to ensure it is safe; there would be a pilot scheme in Gateshead around a number of homes. Further work would focus on renewable electricity, carbon capture and storage;

·  The mechanisms in place to support residents lacking off street parking through the expansion of the charging network across the city. Members heard that discussions are ongoing with the Highways and Transport Service to develop an approach to further community hub charging provision for those households without off street parking. It was noted that Leeds had successfully secured funding towards charge infrastructure;

·  To consider how the Council will engage its residents on climate-related issues, particularly in terms of tree planting initiatives. Concerns were raised in relation to site maintenance / ownership of new public forestry. It was noted that whilst trees had the capability to look after themselves, long terms considerations were required;

·  Planning considerations around water surface run off and including minimum conditions as a standard. Members were informed that the Local Plan Review would consider climate emergency issues, and a report will be considered at Executive Board in March 2021 and subject to agreement, this will go out for consultation.


Councillor Collins provided the Scrutiny Board with an update on progress of the Biodiversity and Food Working Group. Members were informed that the initial meetings focused on biodiversity projects and shared support of the White Rose Forest Strategy. It was acknowledged there would not be enough council land to plant a sufficient number of trees and support from the Government would be required in finding private land; additional work to be considered around incentivizing land owners. The working group had more recently moved onto food, and further work was required around educating people on growing their own. The group had heard from the vertical farming community to explain the process in more detail; future work with partners to consider developing a food action plan for Leeds.


The Director of Resourcing and Housing reiterated the ongoing challenge with retrofitting housing stock and minded the successor Scrutiny Board to look at:

·  The Council’s housing stock and district heating;

·  The Private Rented Sector and owner occupation;

·  The immediate effect to changes on the economy as greener energy is delivered and to consider those vulnerable to that change.


The Climate Emergency Advisory Committee Chair confirmed that a developers working group had been set up to help influence the planning process, particularly on retrofitting issues and to set good practice for future developers.


The Chair thanked officers for their attendance.



a)  To note the contents of the report and appendices;

b)  To request that the successor Scrutiny Board be minded to receive an update on the progress every 6 months and monitor issues in relation to the retrofit of housing stock and planning legislation changes;

c)  To notify and request that the successor Scrutiny Board (Infrastructure, Investment and Inclusive Growth) schedule a space on their work programme in the 2021/22 municipal year and be minded to consider green economy matters.


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