Unlocking low carbon potential in Leeds

10th December, 2018 - 13:40


A national focus for green finance, linking businesses and organisations across sectors, driving evidence-based engagement and making Leeds the leading city in the north for Green Great Britain Week … Leeds Climate Commission is demonstrating its ‘can do’ spirit  in its first full year.

The Commission has published its second Annual Report, which highlights progress and achievements over 2018 and shows how the Commission is working to unlock low carbon potential in Leeds.

It shows that the Commission's success in organising a project development and finance networking event in May went on to attract a national conference on green finance and energy in partnership with the Dept for BEIS and UK100, as well as producing a suite of workshops to support businesses to make low carbon projects "investment ready".

Research by the University of Leeds has shown that by 2030 Leeds could save over £277m annually if it exploited all of the profitable measures for energy efficiency and low carbon development.

The Commission is nurturing the conditions for this by linking potential projects with investment and finance companies, and through exploring a crowd-funded solar project to turn a Council building into a mini rooftop renewable power station.

Positive opportunities for climate action

As well as driving the low carbon agenda through projects, the Commission is using an evidenced based approach to raise capacities to act on positive opportunities for climate action.

This year has seen it win funding to evaluate two methods of engagement with different target audiences: Carbon LIteracy, which works with businesses and organisations is being evaluated with employees at ITV, and Carbon Conversations, which works more with communities, groups and individuals, which is being evaluated through employees (and will ultimately be used with residents) of Citu in Leeds.

The Commission has also conducted a city-wide survey of climate mitigation and communications activity , leading to another collaboration with Citu on creating a virtual climate/energy knowledge sharing and networking hub for the city.

Collaborations are key

Collaborations are at the heart of the Leeds Climate Commission's activities, as evidenced by burgeoning relationships from organisations and businesses including Opera North, ITV's Emmerdale,  stately home Harewood House and global PR company Grayling, all of whom we have worked with this year.

Our role as an independent voice providing commentary and guidance on climate aspects of development has consolidated too: a three-year Fellowship (with Arup) to assess climate risk and vulnerability in Leeds is another example of on-the-ground working that will help to produce a more resilient city. The Commission is also looking at how Leeds can reduce its carbon emissions from food waste and will be producing a position paper on this, as well as on the city's H21 hydrogen programme and the development of the South Bank area of Leeds.

Now our eyes are set firmly on moving forward with this progress. January 2019 sees law firm Walker Morris hosting a director-level breakfast briefing to kick off the planned programme of project development workshops, which will run February-June.  By March we also plan to have produced a roadmap to deliver city wide carbon reduction targets and bring forward propsals for city level carbon budgets. This will ensure that any revised carbon targets for Leeds are evidence based and achievable.

Read the highlights and find a link to the Annual Report here.

Image: Benjamin Elliott (Unsplash)