Heatwave concerns raised for Leeds residents living in glass tower blocks

Glass tower blocks springing up across the heart of Leeds may become more difficult to live and work in during future heatwaves, it’s been suggested.

Coun Stewart Golton, who leads’ Leeds Liberal Democrat group, suggested the design of city centre buildings should be carefully considered as the effects of climate change become harsher.

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Leeds City Council said it was reviewing its approach to climate change and heatwaves across every area of its service.

Leeds experienced its hottest ever day on Tuesday last week, as temperatures reached 39C. Picture: Simon Hulme.

Leeds experienced its hottest ever day on Tuesday last week, as temperatures reached 39C.

The previous record high of 34C, set in 1990, had already been broken the previous day.

Speaking at a meeting of the council’s executive board on Wednesday, Coun Golton asked senior officers which areas of the authority might need to respond “at pace” to climate change.

He said: “For example, there’s a lot of buildings going up in Leeds city centre which are about 70 per cent glass, which you’d think doesn’t make a great environment to live or work in if there’s a heatwave.”

Coun Golton also suggested more could be done to grow food on Leeds’ vast areas of agricultural land, which he said might be needed in the face of “environmental onslaught”.

In response, Polly Cook, the council’s chief officer for sustainable energy, said: “What we’ve committed to over the next 12 months is to do a holistic review of every area, including the issues you’ve raised.

“Public health already has a heatwave plan and what we’re looking to do is make sure it’s sufficient. We’re planning for heatwaves as we experience them at the moment and what we’re trying to do is build on that.

“All the things you’ve flagged will be picked up.”

Coun Helen Hayden said Leeds was “ahead of the game” on the issue of food security and the council’s carbon footprint on food.

It was revealed that pupils in schools run by the council have been eating one meat-free meal a week, as part of a new drive, while food is being supplied from increasingly local sources.

Counc Helen Hayden, executive member for climate, said: “We have been looking with (the) planning (department) and other areas at our land use.

“We’re trying to come up with as many innovative ways as possible of growing our own food and buying locally.”