Since forming a joint administration with the Lib Dems, York’s Green councillors have worked to agree a fresh Council Plan that has responding to climate change and maintaining essential services at its heart.
The newly published plan puts achieving zero carbon emissions by 2030 centre stage whilst also prioritising social care, health and well being, children’s services, creating new homes and supporting well-paid jobs.
The council budget presented to Full Council at the end of February will implement some of the ambitions in the Plan, whilst also making £4m of savings to balance the budget.
Additional funding of over £1 million over two years will create a new waste and street environment service with a stronger neighbourhood focus, to better support and respond to local communities.
£6.6m of new investment in the capital budget will pay for new waste vehicles, which will be as low carbon as possible as part of a strategy to make all council vehicles carbon neutral by 2030. Work is underway on options for extending recycling collections and offering green bins to more properties.
The budget includes an £150k investment in creating a centrally managed Climate Change Delivery Programme which will develop a strategic approach throughout the authority to reducing the city’s carbon emissions. This will establish annual carbon budgets, develop policies, launch a major public consultation and build partnerships with residents, organisations and businesses. This new team of officers will also support the work of the Climate Emergency Scrutiny Committee.
Green Party Deputy Leader of the Council and Executive Member for Transport, Andy D’Agorne said: “Our budget is intended to deliver action on the climate emergency with measurable year-on-year carbon emission reductions.’
The budget includes funding to develop major tree planting schemes as part of a new council commitment to the “Northern Forest”.
This scheme aims to plant an additional 50 million trees across the North of England. The council’s capital investment, which amounts to £3 million over the next 5 years includes provision to buy areas of land to increase the city’s tree canopy.
This will absorb more CO2 emissions whilst also improving quality of life in York.
Planting schemes ‘upstream’ will also be considered for areas outside the city boundaries.
These will both absorb carbon and contribute to ‘slowing the flow’ and reducing flooding in York.
Over £4 million additional investment in adult social care is a key part of the February budget. In keeping with councils around the country, this is a necessary response to the complex needs of an older population and our commitment to prioritise good quality care for our most vulnerable citizens