Are UK council policies getting in the way of our climate goals?

Posted by Andi

Environmental researchers have found that approximately one-third of UK councils are forming contradictory policies in context to their climate change acknowledgements. The BBC reports that out of the 149 “top-tier” council constituencies in the UK, 121 have declared a “climate emergency”.

However, 45 councils out of the 121 have supported at least one policy that would actively increase the areas carbon emissions. Findings have shown that local councils are under pressure to “balance social, economic and environmental challenges”. 

How will Leeds new airport affect their net-zero target?

A great example of this is Leeds City Council, who have decided to upgrade Leeds Bradford airport with a new terminal.

This move is expected to increase carbon emissions by attracting more people to fly as well as general travel and running emissions that are expected to increase as the airport grows. This contradicts Leads plan to become a carbon-neutral city by 2030.

Helen Hayden, councillor for infrastructure and climate for Leeds City Council, told BBC News: “It would seem like an inconsistency. I would say that in terms of carbon emissions the airport accounts for 1.5% of our carbon emissions. “So we do have to keep it in context and not let it distract us from doing all those things that will actually tackle the bigger issues that are in our city. We need that National Policy framework so that Leeds Bradford airport does not feel it is being punished as opposed to other airports in the country – and we can therefore work with them to get our green and sustainable future.”

Climate change habits start closer to home…

Opinions on these situations are typically divided. Some people say that although climate change is important, local authorities should not neglect the growth and preservation of local businesses and lifestyles. Others are calling for a more dramatic change to help reverse the damage we have done to our planet before it’s too late.

The task of juggling local development and climate policies may seem difficult, however, all local development will mean nothing if we do not quickly start to turn the tide of global warming. 

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