Calderdale can address many of the causes and impacts of climate change by working with its partners at the local level. At the same time, recognising there is a need to work with the other West Yorkshire Local Authorities (Bradford, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield) on a number of key issues, which cut across local boundaries. Through collaboration, the West Yorkshire Councils will deliver efficiency savings, avoid duplication and share skills, experience and good practice across the sub-region.
What are the key challenges facing West Yorkshire in relation to climate change?
Looking regionally, the climate predictions for the Yorkshire and Humber will change significantly by 2050 and dramatically by 2080. Below is a summary of the main impacts:
- Mean annual temperature is expected to rise by between 1ºC and 2.5ºC by the 2050s and 1.5ºC and 4ºC by the 2080s. Warming will take place throughout the year with the greatest rise in Summer months.
- Warming will be accompanied by wetter Winters, but drier Summers, Autumns and Springs leading to a reduction in rainfall of upto 10%. Heavy rainfall events in Winter will increase in frequency and intensity.
- There will be a four-fold decrease in frosty nights, a five-fold increase in warm Summer nights and a two or three-fold increase in warm Summer days.
- A reduction in the number of days with fog is anticipated and reductions in cloud cover of 10 - 20% along the coast.
- Soil moisture will be reduced during the summer months.
- Sea level rise along the Yorkshire coast is estimated to be higher than 1961-90 levels for low emissions scenario by the 2080s. Under the high emissions scenario the rise is estimated at 75cm.
West Yorkshire can play a significant role in national and global efforts to limit the extent of climate change. It is home to more than 2.1 million people, so it is essential that we support communities, businesses and public sector organisations to change actions and behaviours which make a major contribution to climate change. Per capita carbon emissions in West Yorkshire are currently less than the national average, but dramatic reductions will still be needed to help meet proposed national targets of 34% cuts by 2020.
In addition to contributing to efforts to reduce climate change, it is vital for West Yorkshire to adapt and build resilience to its effects. If we do not prepare adequately, these changes will impact significantly on the health and wellbeing of our citizens, damage our natural environment and disrupt our local infrastructure and economy. It is also clear that if we do not transform our economy and investment priorities, we will not be able to compete in the new world of challenging emissions targets and increasing customer demand for green practices.
What actions are the West Yorkshire Councils taking to address climate change?
- Developing sustainable buildings and procurement policies;
- working to increase the sustainability of schools;
- investing in low-carbon energy sources;
- reducing emissions from our fleet vehicles;
- diverting material from landfill using innovative recycling initiatives; and
- encouraging and supporting our staff to change habitual behaviour.
We are also committed to playing a broader community leadership role in relation to climate change. We are developing local plans to provide strategic direction on climate change at the local level. We are all committed to achieving key performance indicators on climate change through Local Area Agreements. Commercial activity, domestic housing and transport make the greatest contribution to carbon emissions in West Yorkshire. We are working with local businesses and communities to support them to make the changes necessary to reduce emissions. We are working with partners to increase the sustainability of transport infrastructure in West Yorkshire, by:
- encouraging developers to use low-carbon energy sources;
- developing sustainable procurement policies that encourage businesses to minimise their contribution to climate change;
- supporting residents to improve the energy efficiency of their homes;
- enabling the development of community-led climate change projects;
- investing in sustainable modes of transport and demand management measures through the West Yorkshire Local Transport Plan and Leeds City Region activity;
- undertaking joint initiatives with local partners. This including: schools, colleges, universities, social landlords, the health service, Police and voluntary organisations;
- supporting teaching of climate change issues in the school curriculum and work to reduce carbon emissions from school buildings and facilities; and
- developing flood management plans and clearing watercourses and culverts in flood risk areas and implementing sustainable drainage systems on new roads.
For more information on what the Council is doing to tackle climate change, see: Environmental projects and campaigns .