Leeds making progress on carbon emission targets

Leeds City Council is half way to achieving its carbon cutting targets, according to a new report.

The council's executive board will discuss a report on 16 December that will show the local authority is half way to its goal of cutting emissions by 40% by 2020.

The report states the council has reduced carbon emissions by 20% between 2008 and 2014 and city wide, emissions had reduced by 16% by 2013.

The local authority has also installed solar panels on council buildings and 1,000 council homes and established an energy company to offer residents competitive rates 

In addition, the council is continuing to look at other measures like building a compressed natural gas station, installing charging points for electric vehicles, better energy management in council buildings and reviewing the council's corporate travel plan.

Members are being asked to endorse an action plan that supports the council's participation in the European Covenant of Mayors, a group of local authorities who have signed up to meet or exceed the European Union objective of cutting carbon emissions by 20% by 2020.

“Despite the policy and funding goalposts moving we've been able find innovative ways to help people cut their fuel bills and carbon emissions,” said Cllr Mark Dobson, Executive Member for Environmental Protection and Community Safety.

"This isn't about being green for the sake of it or because it's a nice thing to do. Getting our own house in order and helping others cut carbon emissions actually impacts people's lives; saving money, improving homes and health and tackling fuel poverty.

"Clearly we still have a way to go. Despite the challenges we remain ambitious and if approved, our new energy policy and action plan will give us a clear path to make further improvements in areas that are more difficult to achieve.

"As well as projects to cut emissions from council buildings and help residents, businesses, communities and partners across Leeds are helping to reduce the city's emissions,” added Cllr Dobson.

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues