Huddersfield Friends of the Earth responds to Kirklees’ Climate Action Plan

Kirklees Climate Emergency campaigners at Huddersfield Town Hall

7 December 2022

Huddersfield Friends of the Earth has expressed mixed reactions to the Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) for Kirklees being presented at Kirklees Council meeting today Wednesday 7 December 2022. The group is broadly supportive of the 206 potential measures being put forward and the fact that the council is fully acknowledging the threat that the climate and ecological crises that are facing Kirklees and the world. The group has also welcomed the Plan’s outlining of the many economic, social, and health benefits associated with reducing carbon emissions, such as improved energy security, reduction of fuel poverty, and an improved and efficient, public transport and active travel network.  However, the group has criticised the speed with which the council is developing these plans which are only likely to start being implemented in 2024, a full 5 years after the council declared a climate emergency. The lack of measurable targets and failure to undertake annual monitoring of targets is also criticised. Kirklees Council’s continuing to support road expansion was also called out by the group as being at odds with the Plan.

Urgent need to accelerate climate action

Chayley Collis spokesperson for Huddersfield Friends of the Earth said:

“It is great that Kirklees is developing the next stage in its response to the climate emergency. Many of the measures outlined are ones we have been asking for many years and we are especially pleased to see proposed suggestions for changes to the Local Plan.  Climate action can help reduce the impact of the current cost of living crisis by reducing our reliance on expensive fossil fuels. Having energy-efficient homes will bring our energy bills down and a greater uptake of active travel or public transport options will reduce our reliance on diesel and petrol cars.”

“However, we should not have had to wait nearly 4 years for this Plan. The UN Secretary General described at COP 27 the world as being on a ‘highway to climate hell’. The pace of delivery of the CCAP needs to ramp up in response. Our national and local governments need to respond to the climate emergency in the same way they did to the COVID pandemic and leave no stone unturned. The Council has effectively lost 5 years to move Kirklees towards its 2038 net zero target and so will now need to work even harder to meet its climate goals.”

The group has also strongly criticised the current lack of measurable and timetabled actions and has emphasised the importance of having annual reviews of progress, not the three-yearly reviews proposed.

Chayley added: “The Climate Change Action Plan as it stands is just a ‘wish-list’ of uncosted actions, without a clear timetable for implementation.”

Road expansion

The Huddersfield Friends of the Earth group, which has been campaigning against road expansion within Kirklees, has also argued that cancelling any ongoing road expansion schemes would save millions of public money and show that Kirklees is serious about its Climate Change Action Plan.

Climate Action scorecards

The group is also highlighting that Kirklees will need to radically improve its performance against the national independent Council Climate Action Scorecards which rates Council Climate Plans. In 2022 Climate Emergency UK published scorecards that gave Kirklees 0% out of 100% because the Council had yet to publish a climate action plan. The 2023 Scorecard methodology has recently been published and includes questions such as:  

·       Has the council published a climate action plan with SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) targets?

·       Has the council published an up to date and easy-to-read annual report on their Climate Action Plan?

·       Has the council lobbied the government for climate action?

Read more about Climate Action Scorecards:

Read the Draft Climate Change Action Plan for Kirklees:

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