Collective effort needed to tackle climate change, York councillor says, ahead of carbon emissions strategy publication

A senior councillor in York has warned that climate change will only be tackled with a collective effort across every section of society as a 10-year vision to radically reduce carbon emissions in the historic city is due to be published next month.

York's climate change strategy will be unveiled in October

A host of measures have been introduced by York Council to tackle the threat of global warming, including a multi-million pound investment in electric vehicle charging points and the creation of a sprawling community woodland on the outskirts of the city.

However, a climate change strategy will be unveiled in October to provide an over-arching vision when a public consultation will be launched before the authority is planning to adopt the blueprint by the end of the year.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The council’s executive member for environment and climate change, Coun Paula Widdowson, told The Yorkshire Post that there needed to be a co-ordinated approach to achieve the ambition for York to be a net-zero carbon city by 2030.

Coun Widdowson said: “Tackling climate change is the number one priority for the council, but it cannot be simply the council’s responsibility.

“But that is not to say that our ambitions cannot be achieved, although it will mean everyone in the city, whether that be businesses or residents, doing what they can to reduce their carbon footprint.

“Small changes such as walking short trips instead of taking a car and putting a jumper on instead of turning up the heating will collectively make a huge difference in the long-term.”

The council is itself responsible for about eight per cent of all carbon dioxide emissions in the city, with transport as well as homes and business and retail premises contributing about 90 per cent.

A climate change commission which was launched in December last year includes representatives from the city’s three biggest carbon emitters, the University of York, the NHS and the Nestle confectionary company.

Efforts which have already been launched in York to tackle climate change include a £4m investment in electric vehicle charging points, with five per cent of all spaces in the council-run car parks having access to the technology.

Among the other flagship projects has been the £22m restoration of the Guildhall, which dates back to the 15th century and is located on the banks of the River Ouse in the heart of the city.

The Guildhall was in need of extensive restoration work after the council relocated to its new headquarters in West Offices near the city’s railway station eight years ago.

The work has seen a host of environmentally-friendly measures introduced, including heat pumps which are driven by the river as well as state-of-the-art insulation and lighting systems.

Final designs have been drawn up for a new community woodland near Poppleton which will see up to 80,000 trees planted over 250 acres.

The initial phase of the project will see 17,500 trees planted and main pathways created from November, and the woodland will act as a so-called carbon sink to capture emissions as well as serving the city’s population as a valuable community resource.

A trial of electric scooters in the city which was launched in October last year has proved a major success, with 2,000 journeys being made each week.

There are now 400 electric scooters and 50 e-bikes across the city-wide network.