By Sean Weston
In a report on local authority areas across England and Wales by Friends of the Earth and Climate Action, Kirklees has been advised to focus on increasing the use of public transport, cycling, walking and to increase renewable energy sources (e.g. wind and solar) and to also increase tree cover in the region.
This comes off the back of Kirklees Council adopting a crucial stance on climate change after declaring a climate emergency back in January, with Councillor Murgatroyd stating that the emphasis was on “practical policy” and that this will help “embed environmental good practice into all our areas of work.”
The key facts from the report show identify where Kirklees needs to improve in combating climate change.
When looking at housing, 33% of the homes in Kirklees are well insulated and 13% of households are in fuel poverty, which means they can’t properly afford their homes.
Friends of the Earth have recommended that Kirklees council aim to properly insulate 11,737 homes each year up to 2030.
Tree cover should be improved by 20% across the country, with the Government National Forest Inventory declaring that 8% of the Kirklees area is woodland.
33% of people commute to work via public transport, cycling and walking. The target suggested by 2030 is to have 60% of people commuting on public transport and that when cars are used, they are electric or shared.
Andrew Cooper, leader of the Green group on Kirklees Council gave his thoughts on the report saying:
“Mediocre outcomes on climate change doesn’t cut it. We need to be doing a lot more. “What we want to see now is whether the report of the council’s Climate Emergency Working Group will demonstrate that we are taking the Climate Emergency seriously.”
Naheed Mather, Cabinet Member for Greener Kirklees gave an outline of the commitment to changing habits to combat climate change.
“We are committed to not only reducing our own impact on the planet but also encouraging others to do the same, not just in the council, but across Kirklees.
“This includes making changes to how we all work, travel, eat, use energy and deal with waste.
“We have been actively working to reduce our impact on the planet for many years, but we recognise that there is more to be done.
A senior councillor has also said that Kirklees’ declaration of a Climate Emergency demonstrated the authority’s commitment “to make a positive local change in response to what is a devastating global situation”
Local resident Mr King stated “I agree with Mr Cooper in that we are containing this issue and not doing enough to reduce what we are emitting into the climate. It is time for action.”
The Friends of the Earth report can be found here: https://takeclimateaction.uk/climate-action/how-your-local-authority-meeting-challenges-climate-emergency