Leeds City Council has received an ‘A’ grade for climate action from the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) for its commitment to environmental stewardship despite economic challenges. The council’s strategies have led to a significant reduction in carbon emissions, investment in sustainable initiatives, and efforts to combat climate change, setting a high benchmark for global cities.
Why has Leeds been recognized with an ‘A’ grade for climate action?
Leeds City Council earned an ‘A’ grade for climate action from the Carbon Disclosure Project for its exceptional commitment to environmental stewardship, despite economic challenges. The council’s strategies led to a significant 38% reduction in carbon emissions since 2005, investment in sustainable initiatives, and climate change mitigation efforts, setting a high benchmark for global cities in combating climate change.
Climate Leadership Amidst Economic Pressures
Leeds City Council has garnered international acclaim, securing a place on the Carbon Disclosure Project’s (CDP) distinguished A List, which celebrates the efforts of cities championing environmental action and maintaining transparency. In the face of a tough economic climate, Leeds stands with global giants like New York and Tokyo, as one of the 119 cities worldwide to achieve this recognition. With over 900 cities evaluated, only 13% have been honored with an A grade. This exemplary performance by Leeds reflects the city’s dedication to environmental stewardship and sets a benchmark for others to aspire to.
Advancements in Sustainable Living
The council’s commitment to a greener future is evident in the significant reduction of its carbon footprint, which has plummeted by 38% since 2005. These reductions are a testament to the council’s proactive strategies, including the declaration of a climate emergency in 2019, pushing for accelerated action towards ‘net zero’ emissions. The council has also channelled over £850 million into climate change mitigation or adaptation initiatives, embodying the city’s Best City Ambition with climate action as a strategic priority. This drive for sustainability is also helping Leeds households through energy-efficient home improvements, with £100 million invested to enhance the energy efficiency of council homes.
Energizing the Economy and Housing
In addition to assisting households, Leeds City Council is also determined to fuel business growth in harmony with environmental goals. Through the updated Inclusive Growth Strategy and close collaboration with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, the council encourages businesses to engage in the net zero transition. This synergy not only aids carbon footprint reduction but also enhances market opportunities. Moreover, the Leeds PIPES district heating network is gaining traction, providing sustainable energy solutions that are set to save customers nearly £490,000 in energy costs this year.
Transformative Transport Strategies
Leeds City Council is in motion to revamp the city’s transport framework, aiming to present an attractive alternative to car usage. The Connecting Leeds Transport Strategy is at the heart of this transformation, seeking to diminish the one-third of emissions attributed to vehicles. Upcoming reports will outline the strategy’s 2023 progress, spotlighting initiatives like the successful inauguration of Leeds City Bikes. The council is also shaping local planning policies to promote developments well-linked by public transport, reducing car dependency and fostering vibrant communities.
Preparing for the Future
Leeds is bracing for the climate challenges ahead, with predictions of extreme heatwaves, flooding, and drought becoming more frequent. The council’s multifaceted approach not only focuses on curbing emissions but also on fortifying the city against the repercussions of climate change. Investments exceeding £200 million in flood defenses are underway, highlighting the council’s proactive measures to protect Leeds. New guidelines and local planning policies are also being crafted to safeguard green spaces and bolster the city’s resilience to heatwaves, thereby securing a sustainable future for Leeds’s natural and urban landscapes.
A Continuous Journey
Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council’s executive member for climate, energy, environment, and green space, lauds the city’s climate action recognition. He emphasizes the significant investment and progress made, despite financial and policy challenges. The council remains committed to advancing household support, business development, transport improvement, and tackling extreme weather impacts. However, the councillor reiterates the 2019 call to the government for the necessary resources and authority to achieve net zero, underscoring its lasting relevance.
Notes for Editors
The CDP’s grading system is rigorous, requiring cities to meet several criteria such as public disclosure, comprehensive emissions inventories, and climate action plans. A grade cities like Leeds are quadrupling climate action measures compared to their counterparts. Over 24,000 organizations worldwide have disclosed data through CDP in 2023, making it a cornerstone of environmental transparency and action. Leeds’s notable climate projects, funded significantly by external grants, are laid out below, emphasizing the city’s commitment to combating climate change.
Major Projects with Climate Change Reduction or Adaptation as a Key Aim Since 2016
- Sustainable travel infrastructure: £408 million
- Flood alleviation measures: £200 million
- Decarbonisation of residential council buildings: £100 million
- Low carbon district heating: £62 million
- Decarbonisation of non-residential council buildings: £40 million
- Decarbonisation of private sector housing: £25 million
- Incentives and infrastructure for low emission vehicles: £10 million
- New woodland creation and enhancements, increasing tree canopy cover: £6 million
- TOTAL: £851 million
Leeds’ Territorial Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Sector (kt CO2e)
- Domestic: Down from 1,907 in 2005 to 1,127 in 2021
- Transport: Reduced from 1,752 in 2005 to 1,434 in 2021
- Commercial & Public Sector: Cut from 1,311 in 2005 to 453 in 2021
- Industry: Decreased from 926 in 2005 to 634 in 2021
- Waste Management: Lowered from 307 in 2005 to 207 in 2021
- Agriculture, Forestry & Land Use: Dropped from 80 in 2005 to 60 in 2021
- TOTAL: Down from 6,284 in 2005 to 3,915 in 2021
For additional resources and to learn more about the city’s climate action, Leeds residents and interested parties are encouraged to visit the Leeds City Council website. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube also provide updates and opportunities for community engagement.
- Leeds City Council has received an ‘A’ grade for climate action from the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) for its commitment to environmental stewardship.
- The council’s strategies have led to a significant 38% reduction in carbon emissions since 2005.
- Leeds stands with global cities like New York and Tokyo as one of the 119 cities worldwide to achieve this recognition.
- The council has invested over £850 million in climate change mitigation or adaptation initiatives.
- Leeds is taking proactive measures to protect against future climate challenges, including investing over £200 million in flood defenses.