Agenda item

Climate Emergency Annual Report

To consider the report of the Director of Resources which provides an overview of the Climate Emergency Annual Report, to be considered by the Executive Board on 15th March 2023.


The Chief Officer (Sustainable Energy and Air Quality) submitted a report initially considered by Executive Board on 15th March 2023 which provided a summary on the range of activity which had taken place in the past year to address the climate emergency.


The Chief Officer provided an overview of the annual report to the Committee. The annual report presented a position statement on both the Council’s and the city’s emissions. There has been a 37% reduction in energy use within the Council since the climate emergency declaration, however the Chief Officer noted that the Council’s emissions represent a small proportion of the city’s overall emissions.


It was noted by the Committee that future plans for addressing the climate emergency include developing engagement with different financial products, including partnership working with Lloyds Bank. The Council is now a signatory of the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission. In addition to partnership working and the actions being taken in Leeds, the dependence on having the correct national policy in place was highlighted, together with the fact that Leeds would continue to work to influence national policy wherever possible, either directly or through its networks.


Members received an overview on the work which had been undertaken to update the Leeds Food Strategy which has been updated to incorporate residents’ views.


The Council also received an ‘A’ grade in the Carbon Disclosing Project (CDC). As a result next year’s annual report will be moved to September so that the data capturing for both the annual report and the CDC can be undertaken jointly.


Following the Chief Officer’s overview was a discussion with the Committee. Highlighted details included;


The Chief Officer gave details on the references to private sector funding and clarified that this was in relation to larger scale investment, for example from pension funds rather than on an individual company basis. Private sector investment is required to transition from a grants-based model. The Council has not undertaken specific work to estimate the cost of not addressing the climate emergency, however, there has been some work done by the Treasury on the cost nationally and the Treasury has recognised that as a country it will cost us more to deal with the consequences of climate than to reduce our emissions in the first place. The possibility of working with partners within the University to develop localised statistics was discussed.


The Chief Officer acknowledged that the city is not on track to meet the net zero ambition by 2030 due to factors outwith our control, such as national policy.


The annual report was noted as not discussing buses in much detail as this is largely managed by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, but the Chief Officer agreed to include more on this subject in next year’s report. The Committee discussed the reduction of some buses within the park and ride scheme, which particularly affects residents within the Outer South area. The Chief Officer to present further statistics on this to the Transport working group. The possibility of inviting bus operators to the Committee in the next municipal year was discussed.


The Committee was informed by the Chief Officer that the Council has little power to deal with the rise of wood burners, or the impact that has on local communities.


The Committee presented a variety of views on the financial costs and benefits to be had by addressing the climate emergency.


Engagement within Leeds communities for the climate emergency was noted as being a concern for the Committee, particularly as inner city residents are the most deprived, and the most at risk to climate related harm. The Open Forum was noted as not having had a diverse range of groups attend in the past municipal year.


The Committee continued the discussion regarding finance for small businesses from earlier in the meeting, and the Chief Officer informed the Committee that the new minimum energy efficiency standards for landlords may mean that rent for small businesses will go up, but that this will mean they will not need to pay the upfront costs of these improvements themselves.



a)  That the Climate Emergency Annual Report as submitted to the Executive Board on 15th March 2023 be noted.


b)  That the contents of the report and the comments made during discussions on the Climate Emergency Annual Report be noted.


(Councillor Garthwaite left the meeting at 2.22pm).

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