Leeds Council commits to reaching Net Zero at least five years before government

Leeds City Council has committed to reaching Net Zero at least five years before the central government.

Thursday, 10th December 2020, 6:00 am
Leeds Council is amongst 38 authorities to make the commitment

It has committed to cut it’s own emissions to Net Zero by 2030, and their community emissions by 2045.

This comes just a year before the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow where a network of 100 local leaders will urge the government to go faster and give them more powers to tackle the climate emergency.

Leeds City Council is one of 38 regional leaders from Edinburgh to Cornwall who has made the commitment.

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All the 38 authorities together represent around a third of the population of England and Scotland and are being coordinated by the UK100 network.

Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council, said: “I am delighted that Leeds is leading by example as one of the first local authorities to sign this new and ambitious Net Zero pledge.

“Tackling climate change is one of our key priorities and this pledge recognises the wider commitment and urgent action that is required.

“The UK100 network provides an opportunity to work collectively to solve the unprecedented challenges currently facing local authorities on the road to net zero.

“In the run up to the COP26 summit, it is vital that together we engage nationally to reduce these barriers and achieve a fair transition to a cleaner economy.”

The ‘UK100 Net Zero pledge’ says: “We will do everything within our power and influence to rapidly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

“We will bring our council emissions to Net Zero by 2030 and we will work with our residents and businesses to bring our wider communities’ emissions in line with Net Zero as soon as possible (and by 2045 at the latest).

“We will continue to lead the UK’s response to Net Zero, going ahead of the government goal and taking the first steps with urgency.

“We will make substantial progress within the next decade to deliver Net Zero. With greater powers, we would go further, faster.”

COP26 High Level Climate Action Champion, Nigel Topping, will meet with the group on Thursday to discuss the importance of local leadership in the UK in enabling greater commitments to be made at COP26 in Glasgow.

The group of cross-party leaders will then work together over the coming year to push for more funding and powers from central Government which will enable them to go even “further and faster” in the journey to Net Zero.

Polly Billington, Director of UK100, said: “These ambitious local leaders have pledged to do everything within their power to reach Net Zero emissions as soon as possible in a way that benefits their communities with new jobs and skills.

“From Edinburgh to Cornwall, local leadership, alongside funding and powers is key to winning the Race to Net Zero.”

UK100 is joining C40 Cities, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM), CDP and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to mobilise an unprecedented coalition of cities committed to setting and achieving science-based targets and implementing inclusive and resilient climate action ahead of COP26 in Glasgow.

This is the Cities Race to Zero effort, with the goal of recruiting 1,000 cities.

The leaders have agreed to limit the use of offsets and use them only as a last resort when reducing emissions to Net Zero at source is not possible.

They will aim for their offsets to be as local as possible.

Leaders have also committed to annual reporting of their progress from 2022 onwards.