Cllr Naheed MatherCabinet Member for Culture and Greener Kirklees
Cllr Naheed Mather discusses Kirklees Council’s Climate Action Plan which outlines the ambition to reach net zero by 2038.
In January 2019, like many authorities nationally, Kirklees Council declared a Climate Emergency. Since then, we have been developing our approach to tackling this emergency through the delivery of several climate actions which will help us to become more climate ready and resilient.
For Kirklees Council, being climate ready is not only about demonstrating climate leadership, but also proactively contributing to the increased awareness, education and upskilling of council staff and businesses, residents, and communities that call Kirklees home. We know that one size doesn’t fit all, and so we recognise and celebrate the diversity and strengths to be found across Kirklees. We are committed to working with people to design, develop and deliver support services when addressing the climate crisis, as place-based working is at the centre of what we do.
To help achieve our climate ready goals, we have developed the Climate Change Action Plan for Kirklees. This Climate Change Action Plan outlines our approach of how the district of Kirklees can achieve its ambition to be ‘Net Zero and Climate Ready by 2038.’ In its creation, we have engaged with a varied range of individuals and organisations within Kirklees, to provide a diverse spectrum of ideas and backgrounds that are reflective of the Borough itself. We have also ensured that the Climate Change Action Plan is informed by our evidence base, including the Climate Change Risk and Vulnerability Assessment and the Residents Survey undertaken to help inform the development of the CCAP for Kirklees.
We have been actively working on climate issues and taking action since 2019 and the Climate Plan will continue to grow and develop by outlining placed-based priority actions that are accompanied with more specific details including financial requirements and expected emission reductions.
Alongside the development of the action plan, we are also in the process of implementing an Environmental Sustainability Strategy. The Environmental Sustainability Strategy: Everyday, Life 2023, aims to make Kirklees a national leader in environmental sustainability. This strategy sets out how we, in Kirklees, can ensure a healthy planet and where people and nature can thrive together harmoniously. This high-level strategy outlines the vision and ambitions on how to achieve this within Kirklees, with specific targets and aims to be developed underneath it.
In acknowledgement of the work completed for the Climate Plan, Kirklees Council was awarded the 2022 Royal Meteorological Society’s ‘Award for Impact’ which was awarded to us in recognition of the significant contributions made by the Energy and Climate Change Team together with consultant partners WSP in educating and informing organisations in response to meteorological challenges. We are the first to receive this award as part of the newly revised category of awards and we strive to continue making significant positive impacts for Kirklees.
We understand that a changing climate poses significant risks, but it also presents opportunities and co-benefits to everyone living and working in Kirklees. These include enhancing biodiversity and the natural environment, improving health and wellbeing of our residents, and providing business opportunities and cost savings. As I am sure we can all agree, there is still a long way to go in this journey, but with our Climate Change Action Plan, emerging Environmental Sustainability Strategy and the cooperation of residents and businesses across Kirklees, we are well on the way to achieving our goal.