What do you mean by net carbon zero?

    • Leeds City Region has formally adopted an ambition to become a net zero carbon economy by 2038 at the latest, and to have made significant progress by 2030, covering CO2 only emissions from energy related sectors (electricity, buildings, industry and transport excluding aviation). 
    • Net zero-carbon is where emissions of CO2 do not exceed those which are removed from the atmosphere e.g. through tree planting and peatland restoration. Net carbon emissions, after accounting for removals, must be reduced by 100% to zero.   The Combined Authority has carried out work with the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change to determine a science-based carbon budget for the Leeds City Region that is consistent with the objectives of the UN Paris Agreement on Climate Change (Paris Agreement) and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The proposed budget is the maximum amount of CO2 that can be emitted in the City Region to ensure compliance with the Paris Agreement and its key aim of keeping global temperature rise to well below 2°C. 
    • The work undertaken by the Tyndall Centre for the City Region aims to achieve compliance with the Paris Agreement without the use of offsetting and negative emissions technologies (NETs) such as carbon capture. This represents a cautious approach taking into account the limited deployment to date of NETs at a global scale.  
    • Given the unprecedented scale of change that is required to meet a 2038 net zero-carbon target it is the Combined Authority’s intention to not discount, at this early stage, any interventions that have the potential to enable the City Region (and local partners) to meet its target and remain compliant with the Paris Agreement. Flexibility will be key if the City Region is to deliver net zero-carbon.  
    • Furthermore, as a City Region we feel we have unique opportunities when it comes to NETs e.g. carbon capture, storage and utilisation, tree planting, peatland restoration, that could potentially play a vital part in achieving the target. The City Region will consider setting a carbon budget to 2038 and beyondand build our climate and environment coalition to deliver rapid carbon reduction, nature recovery and climate readiness starting now, with year-on-year savings.  
    • We will review progress and plans every year, reflecting activity at all levels from national to the local. This is especially important as local areas develop and begin to deliver on their local responses to their respective climate emergencies. 

    What do you say to Extinction Rebellion who are calling for the UK to become carbon zero by 2025?

    • The climate emergency is one of the biggest challenges we face and we need to work together to find new ways of reducing our emissions and decarbonising our economy, but achieving this by 2025 is not practicable. 

    • The passion that groups such as Extinction Rebellion have is clear and we welcome their input.  

    Why do you keep building new roads?

    • We need new infrastructure to support our economy but that has to be delivered in a sustainable way.  

    • New and better roads can mean less congestion which leads to better air quality, more reliable buses and better cycling and walking routes. 

    • When building new roads or improving existing ones, we are mitigating the negative environmental impacts with biodiversity measures such as the living wall in Salterhebble which absorbs carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. 

    • More than 9,000 cars a week have been taken out of Leeds City Centre as a result of our park and ride services.  

    • We are investing in more park and ride services, new train stations and railway car parks which encourage more people to use public transport, walk or cycle.  

    • Earlier this year we opened the UK’s first solar powered park and ride facility at Stourton 

    • In light of the declared climate emergency the Combined Authority will now review and strengthen our decision-making processes to ensure the benefits of growth are balanced against the impacts on local communities and the environment. 

    • We are currently developing a new Carbon Impact Assessment methodology to examine the carbon impacts of proposed schemes both in terms of the operational carbon associated with use as well as the capital carbon associated with construction. 

    • The detailed results from the carbon assessments of existing schemes referred to above are still being reviewed. This will require checking and assurance before publication so specific results are not available at this stage. Once complete, then next steps will be considered depending on what the assessments tell us. 

    What else are you doing on transport?

    • Through our CityConnect programme, the Combined Authority has invested £60 million in cycling and walking schemes across West Yorkshire and York since 2015. 

    • Our Travel Plan Network provides sustainable travel advice to businesses to help more people walk, cycle or use public transport to get to work.  

    • We’re contributing to cleaner air by installing 88 ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) charging points for taxis and cars in easy to access locations around West Yorkshire.

    Why are you going for 2038 when other local authorities are going for 2030 and the Government is saying 2050?

    • The Leeds City Region brings together a geographically diverse range of local authorities each with their own challenges and opportunities when it comes to become net carbon zero. 

    • The Combined Authority has worked with the respected Tyndall Centre for Climate Change to identify a science-based approach to cutting our carbon levels in an ambitious but still realistic way. 

    • The Tyndall Centre has calculated that we can reach net carbon zero by 2038 by halving our emissions every five years.  

    • We commend our local authorities’ ambitious commitments to their carbon reduction targets. We will have made significant progress by 2030 and the city region will be carbon neutral by 2038 at the latest 

    What is the Combined Authority doing to get its own house in order? 

    • The Combined Authority and the LEP will lead by example and incorporate our net zero and clean growth agenda into everything we do and support.  

    • We have committed to be a net zero business by 2038. 

    • We are currently carrying out a refurbishment of our main office, Wellington House, to make it more energy efficient and fit-for-purpose by installing solar panels, low-energy lighting and other carbon cutting measures.  

    • We’re looking at all our internal processes and finding new ways to be more resource efficient such as going paper-free and more flexible working options.  

    • The Combined Authority and LEP have a staff policy which ensures that people use public or active transport where possible.  

    What is the background to this work?

    • West Yorkshire is committed to being a net zero carbon economy by 2038 at the latest, with significant progress by 2030. 

    • The Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, has made tackling the climate and environment emergency one of her key pledges, along with creating new green jobs,building and retrofitting energy efficient homes and supporting nature to recover 

    • Research carried out in 2019 and 2020 looked at all sectors of the regional economy including industry, transport and buildings. It established our net zero target date of 2038. 

    • We have been committed to making the Leeds City Region a net zero carbon economy for a number of years and are already investing in a number of programmes to reduce emissions including better cycling and walking infrastructure, park and ride services and district heat networks. 

    • As part of the West Yorkshire Climate and Environment Plan  we are developing initiatives and exploring opportunities such as carbon capture storage, energy efficient street lighting schemes and the development of electric buses and charging stations. 

    • The Combined Authority’s Green and Blue Infrastructure Strategy sets out how City Region partners can use natural assets to help the economy prosper, improve quality of life for residents, reduce carbon emissions and make the region more resilient to climate change. 

    • However, we need to go further and faster in order to tackle the climate emergency. 

    • Research by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research highlights that we need to halve our emissions every five years to become a net zero carbon economy by 2038 and meet our obligations set out by the UN Paris Agreement. 

    • Meeting this target will be extremely challenging and require collaborative action across the Leeds City Region. 

    • Investment in clean energy could add £11 billion to our economy and create an extra 100,000 skilled jobs. 

    • Across West Yorkshire, 235,000 jobs could be affected by the transition to a net-zero carbon economy, with around 119,000 workers in high demand because of their skills and experience, and 116,000 workers requiring upskilling and support. However, 828,000 jobs will not be significantly affected by the transition (LSE, University of Leeds, 2019). 

    • Prioritising good, green jobs, and investing in skills and training for young people to do them have been some of the key pledges of the Mayor for our region’s economic recovery. Both will be vital to achieve our commitment to a fair, just and lasting recovery for all of West Yorkshire.   

    • Growing the region’s green economy has been a focus of City Region partners for the past decade and initiatives led by the LEP and Combined Authority have contributed to an overall 38% reduction in carbon emissions in the City Region since 2005, compared to 27% nationally. 

    • The Combined Authority and LEP have previously delivered the Leeds City Region £5 million Business Flood Recovery Fund. This launched just weeks after floods hit the region in 2015 and supported businesses to reopen and local SMEs back into operation. 

    • The Combined Authority invested £20 million, alongside over £170 million of partner match funding for a flood resilience programme across the region. The programme will provide enhanced flood protection for up to 1,385 businesses and at least 11,100 jobs. This included £1.7 million of investment in natural flood management projects at locations in the Colne, Calder and Upper Aire river catchments which will reduce the risk of flooding to around 3,000 homes and more than 1,000 businesses and support biodiversity. The programme will also provide a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 478 TCO2 per year (using the GVAL Calculator).