Exclusive: Yorkshire will set hugely ambitious 50-point action plan to tackle climate change

Yorkshire will set out its stall to lead national efforts to tackle climate change - and transform life in the county - by publishing a hugely ambitious 50-point action plan for the region to coincide with the global COP26 conference, it can be revealed.

A woman watches flood water rise in York. The problem of flooding is expected to become worse in coming years.

The Yorkshire and Humber Climate Change Commission - a non-party political body involving 40 commissioners from the public, private and third sectors and which is supported by local councils - is expected to finalise the report this month and will reveal its recommendations for tackling the climate crisis and getting the region to net zero by 2038 at The Yorkshire Post’s Climate Change Summit in Leeds on November 9.

A joint meeting of the commission and cross-party Yorkshire MPs this week was told that Yorkshire is considering going further than the Government’s current position by including aviation and shipping emissions in its net zero target.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman, co-chairman of the Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire All Party Parliamentary Group, said the commission’s recommendations would help guide the delivery of “ambitious climate action across the region”.

Professor Andy Gouldson from the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Change Commission.

He said: “If you look across the country, there are a huge number of local councils that have adopted a climate change emergency resolution and have set up a mission but many of the local authorities have got that far and then found it quite difficult to answer, how do we actually make this thing work, how do we bring communities together, how do we make a difference and how do we do it with some rigour?”

Liz Barber, Chair of Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission and chief executive of Yorkshire Water, said commissioners intended to deliver “an ambitious but deliverable Climate Action Plan across the whole of Yorkshire”.

“We are actually the largest Regional Commission of its kind in the UK. There are almost 40 commissioners and they come from a very diverse background - the CBI, TUC, NatWest, Friends of the Earth, Yorkshire Building Society, the NFU, ITV and many others.

"That’s very important because they are here to support the four key aims of the commission - which is about climate resilience, getting Yorkshire to net zero, having a just and inclusive transition on climate change and protecting the natural environment and biodiversity of this special region.

There are hopes the region could spearhead the nation's transition to net zero.

“We have to play our part in the global path of getting to net zero.”

Professor Andy Gouldson, Director of Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission and Professor of Environmental Policy at the University of Leeds, said the commission has been working “flat out” to develop the extensive action plan after the group was established in March this year.

“The aim has always been and is very much still is to make the plan a very positive, constructive, delivery-focused plan for the whole region explicitly - not just targeted at local authorities but very much focused on the idea of sharing responsibility and mobilising all of the actors in the region to deliver on this huge agenda,” he said.

“We envisage at the moment there will be 50 key action points. That seems like a lot but when you think about climate change, the plan has to address so many aspects of what happens in our region - our transport systems, our housing systems, our business and industry and infrastructure, our finance and so on. Climate change is such an all-encompassing challenge that there needs to be action in multiple areas.

"All of these different dimensions need to work together if we are to deliver transformative change. We hope Government will support us as we try and deliver on this massive agenda at the regional scale.”

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Sheerman said: "The Yorkshire and Humber region is at the forefront in the drive for climate action to tackle this most pressing threat to our planet.

"The Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission is the largest regional body of its kind in the UK, bringing together policy makers and politicians, the private, public and third sectors, the Yorkshire region can provide real leadership to overcome the climate emergency.”

MPs warned over extreme weather

Yorkshire is facing increased levels of rainfall, flooding, sea level rises, heat waves, wildfires and more droughts as a result of climate change, MPs have been warned.

Setting out the reasons why action is needed to mitigate climate change, Liz Barber, chairman of the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Change Commission and CEO of Yorkshire Water, said: “We’re going to face the impact in the region of increased rainfall flooding, sea level rises, heatwaves, wildfire and potentially less water for use leading to drought conditions. It’s all about seeing what’s coming and making sure that this region is ready for what’s coming.”

Support The Yorkshire Post and become a subscriber today. Your subscription will help us to continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire. In return, you'll see fewer ads on site, get free access to our app and receive exclusive members-only offers. Click here to subscribe.