United Kingdom: Bradford District Council declares a climate emergency

Bradford declares a climate emergency

Councillors Kevin Warnes (left) and Martin Love (right).

0n 15 January 2019, Bradford District Council became the largest local authority in the UK – and second council in Yorkshire – to declare a climate emergency after a motion by two Green Party councillors was passed. Kirklees Council voted on a similar motion the following day.

With a population of 534,300, Bradford is the fifth largest local authority in England. In December 2018, the London Assembly also declared a climate emergency, but that is a different level of government. Kirklees Council has a population of 423,000.

This brings the total figure of populations covered by governments that have declared a climate emergency up above 17,5 million citizens in four English-speaking countries, with over 10 million of them living in the United Kingdom.

Bradford Council pledges to take leading role

In Bradford, the original motion was put forward by Councillors Kevin Warnes and Martin Love.

An amendment which removed many of the ambitious targets originally proposed by the two Greens councillors was put forward by Council leader Susan Hinchliffe. Her amendment motion was passed, but the key points remained – including Bradford Council pledging to take a leading role in persuading other councils in the Leeds City Region to follow suit.

In a media release the two councillors both welcomed the ‘Declaration of Climate Emergency’ by Bradford Council. Councillor Warnes was quoted as saying:

“This is a welcome step forward in our efforts to do our part in tackling climate change here in Bradford. It is absolutely vital that local authorities like Bradford adopt more ambitious targets if we have any hope of getting to grips with the climate emergency we find ourselves in.”

“People of all political persuasions need to work together if we want to prevent the consequences of catastrophic climate breakdown and we have seen a bit of that here tonight.”

Councillor Martin Love added:

“With all the talk of Brexit and another general election, the crisis our planet is facing isn’t going away. Climate breakdown is happening and last night Bradford sent a strong message to Westminster that we won’t sit around and wait until it’s too late. We need them to give us the resources to protect our environment.”

Agenda item – Bradford

This is the original motion which was put forward at the meeting of Bradford District Council on 15 January 2019 as Item 121:

To be moved by Councillor Kevin Warnes
Seconded by Councillor Martin Love

Council notes that the ‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C’, published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in October 2018, (a) describes the enormous harm that a 2°C rise is likely to cause compared with a 1.5°C rise, and (b) confirms that limiting Global Warming to 1.5°C may still be possible with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities, civil society and the private sector.

Council welcomes recent climate action by the London Mayor and Assembly, leading UK local authorities including Bristol and Manchester, and other city authorities around the world to declare – and commit resources to tackling – our ‘Climate Emergency’.

Council notes our own January 2010 energy procurement motion, passed with all-party support, which resolved that Bradford Council would:

a) reduce its overall use of gas, electricity and heating oil by at least 20% by 2020 in a way that also delivered an overall cut of at least 20% in the carbon emissions associated with these sources of energy, using 2005 as a baseline year;

b) ensure that at least 20% of the current energy requirements of the Council’s estate were met by renewable energy by 2020, preferably sourced within the District;

c) ensure that these targets were included in the Council’s Climate Change Strategy that was scheduled for completion in June 2010, and that this Strategy would also include the minimum target for 2020 of a 40% cut in the Council’s overall carbon emissions (including schools), using 2005 as a baseline year;

d) work with the District’s Environment Partnership in 2010 to ensure that the Partnership adopted the minimum target of a 40% cut in District-wide carbon emissions by 2020, using 2005 as a baseline year, and that any annual targets finalised in subsequent Local Area Agreements or their equivalents from 2011 onwards would be consistent with this overarching goal.

Council notes that the Environment and Waste Management Overview and Scrutiny Committee adopted two wide-ranging Link Member Reports in 2009 and 2013 which provided detailed recommendations for achieving the Council’s carbon reduction targets adopted in January 2010.

Council notes that significant progress has been made towards achieving our carbon reduction and renewable energy targets set out in 2010, but expresses concern that these targets have not yet been fully achieved and that Bradford Council has not finalised a carbon reduction plan for 2020 and beyond.

Council acknowledges that we must show more ambitious civic leadership in response to the challenges of global warming and climate change, specifically in relation to (a) reducing our own greenhouse gas emissions, and (b) encouraging and enabling our community and private organisations based in Bradford District to do likewise.

Council acknowledges that ‘business as usual’ is not an option in the face of the climate emergency and that we may need to strategically reassess and adjust the scope of our current activities in order to make the transition to a low-carbon society by 2030.

Council therefore:

1) joins London, Bristol, Manchester and other UK local authorities in declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’;

2) commits to becoming a carbon-neutral organisation by 2030 (including Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions as defined by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol);

3) requests that the Leader of Council reports back to Council within six months with an Action Plan and ‘roadmap’ to ensure that Bradford Council becomes a carbon-neutral organisation by 2030;

4) requests that the Leader of Council reports back to Council within six months with detailed information about how the Council will work with partners across the Leeds City Region and with central government to seek to ensure that Bradford District’s net carbon emissions (Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3) are reduced by 90% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels;

5) requests that the Chief Executive establishes a ‘Bradford District Climate Change Board’ before the end of 2019, equivalent to that of Manchester, to underpin our efforts to decarbonise Bradford District;

6) requests that the Chief Executive writes to the government requesting (a) additional powers and funding to make our 2030 target possible and (b) that ministers work with other governments to ensure that the UK maximizes carbon reduction by 2030 in line with the overriding need to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5°C.

» Source: bradford.moderngov.co.uk

» Telegraph & Argus – 14 January 2019:
‘Call to arms’ for Bradford Council to tackle climate change

Kirklees Climate Emergency group

» See also: Kirklees Council passes climate emergency motion [VIDEO]