Tom Franklin, our Chair, spoke to the Climate Change Policy and Scrutiny Committee about the importance of sticking to reaching net zero carbon emissions across the whole of York by 2030
First, let me thank you for the work and progress that you are making. It is essential that we work to achieve net zero or better carbon reduction. I am sure I do not need to remind many of you that if we fail to address the climate emergency much of York will be underwater in a few hundred years. The cost of doing nothing is far higher than any costs in solving this crisis.
We believe that what is discussed in the report is less than the minimum that we need to do in York as it excludes scope 3 emissions – that is those things that are produced elsewhere and then imported into York. To give just a few examples concrete and steel both release huge amounts of carbon, which is not accounted for here. Similarly, food production and flying are not included. As a City without heavy industry this makes it look much easier to reach net zero carbon than is in fact the case.
It is also essential that you stick with a target of Zero Carbon York, and not just the City Council becoming zero carbon, and do not let the executive dilute this
Only last week the Council missed an opportunity to address waste and recycling because the government might some time in the future change the rules. We simply do not have time to wait.
We are very concerned that the Council is still considering what will is potentially one of the biggest increases in carbon emissions in the City. I am referring to dualling of the Outer Ring Road. West Yorkshire Combined Authority is currently reviewing their appraisal criteria to address the climate emergency, and it is essential that York does so too. Building it will require huge amounts of steel and concrete, and it will lead a significant increase in traffic on the roads – not just the ring road but the feeder roads too. If the Ring Road dualling is to continue it should only do so if it can be done in a way that does not lead to increased carbon emissions.
We hope you will consider the report very carefully, and when considering the costs of addressing the climate emergency you will also consider the far greater costs of failing to do so.