Otley is one of first towns in UK to declare a Climate Emergency

OTLEY is looking to the Netherlands for advice on transport planning  after becoming one of the first towns in the UK to declare a climate emergency.

Coun Ray Georgeson
Coun Ray Georgeson

Otley Town Council unanimously passed a resolution calling for urgent action at its latest meeting and set a target of 2030 for becoming 'carbon neutral'.

It was one of the first town or parish councils in the UK to declare a Climate Emergency.

Town council leader Coun Ray Georgeson said the move was partly in response to public concern over global warming and climate change, particularly among young people.

Coun Georgeson said: "We are about to launch a new project called Street Vision 2030, which is going to start by looking at how cars, cyclists and pedestrians can use the town more calmly and safely for everybody's benefit.

"We are going to commission some Dutch experts to work with us to see how we can apply Dutch style safe cycling to our town."

He said the town council is also in the process of developing a community energy company that will start to invest in renewable energy.

Coun Georgeson said: "Unless you make a start and set out the seriousness of the concern you don't have a foundation to change your approach and start to do things differently."

Coun Georgeson told the town council meeting in March: "Locally, we have worked hard to improve our environment and reduce carbon emissions.

"I am proud of our local leadership on green issues and we are committed to maintain this. But...this is not enough.

"This resolution is just a starting point. It must guide our future work, and it will do.

"This will cover everything from supporting more practical projects that reduce carbon emissions and improve the quality of life through to maintaining vigilance and pressure on all developers who come to Otley with feeble plans for the bare minimum when it comes to making their new builds , and refurbished properties, properly energy efficient, low-carbon and future proofed."

Meanwhile, Otley Green Fair is being held at Otley Courthouse on Saturday April 13.

The fair will feature a host of stalls from community groups and national organisations such as Wildlife Friendly Otley, Otley Energy, the RSPB and The Woodland Trust.

Entry is free and the fair is open from 10am to 4pm.

Preparations are also underway for the Otley Cycling Festival to be held at the end of July.