Environmental task force to tackle climate change

This story was published 16 July 2019

North Yorkshire boasts some of the most spectacular landscapes and beautiful communities in the country and to ensure it stays that way the county council is seeking to formalise its position on climate change.

LED street lights as part of our energy reduction programme

With a clear focus on promoting sustainable economic growth, we recognise the important role it plays in protecting and enhancing the county’s environment and economy.

In support of this a motion will be raised by Cllrs Richard Cooper and David Chance at County Council on July 24. It will call on England’s largest council to commit to produce its own carbon reduction plan in an effort to beat the Government goal of 2050 and to aspire to achieve net carbon neutrality by, or as close as possible to, 2030.

We have already formed an Executive sub-group and Scrutiny Task Group concentrating on climate change and a report to this special scrutiny group outlines the progress to date and proposes the advancement of a broad-ranging review alongside the development of a structured climate change strategy. It’s a proposal which would see environmental impact considered as standard across everything from policy to procurement.

The paper, to go before members the afternoon of the county council meeting, outlines how a series of work streams should examine in detail:

  • The council’s own carbon footprint, including its energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions;
  • The establishment of a Climate Change action plan, setting short/medium and long-term priorities;
  • The development of an impact assessment tool to ensure that climate change priorities are integrated into all council functions and polices;
  • Establishing robust governance to ensure a consistent and clear message on the issue.

North Yorkshire’s Leader, Cllr Carl Les, instigated the approach in a statement at full council earlier this year: “The passion shown by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg from Sweden and the way that was embraced by our young people who want the issue addressed continues to impress me and in return I want to be clear that we share that commitment to the world we live in.

“We are lucky to call North Yorkshire our home and the work of these new groups will undoubtedly join up the good work we have done, help us understand where we are and what more we can do and deliver us a more robust structure to protect our environment in a more formal way.

“These are actions, not just words.”

Richard Flinton, North Yorkshire’s Chief Executive, said: “Our current work programme already includes reducing our CO2 emissions and water consumption and minimising waste, for example Allerton Waste Recovery Plant and our Rotters composting initiative. We have taken a clear stance to protect North Yorkshire in our Joint Minerals and Waste Plan, encourage sustainable economic growth and take environmental and social impact into consideration alongside financial factors in our procurement.

“But we can and will do more and this proposal to scrutiny is a good step in the right direction.”

The report can be read here under ‘latest agendas’.