WHARFEDALE politicians have applauded Leeds City Council’s plans to slash carbon emissions.

The local authority, which declared a Climate Emergency last March, has approved proposals to cut its carbon footprint by more than half - from 70,000 to 31,000 tonnes - by 2025.

Its action plan includes:

*Buying electricity from renewable sources, which could reduce the carbon footprint by 30,000 tonnes

*Working with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Vital Energi to double the number of properties receiving affordable, sustainable heat over the next year

*More than doubling its fleet of 95 electric vehicles.

Leeds City Council’s Executive Member for Climate Change, Transport and Sustainable Development, Councillor Lisa Mulherin, said: “Having held the Big Leeds Climate Conversation we know there is widespread support for tackling climate change and protecting biodiversity.

“We are taking immediate and transformative action to make Leeds a fairer, healthier and carbon-neutral city.”

Andy Boyle of Otley 2030 said: “It’s fantastic to see the overwhelming response to the Big Climate Conversation consultation with 97 per cent of respondents supporting leadership from Leeds - and equally that they are stepping up. They are demonstrating the urgency necessary and also that action is possible and ultimately positive in its wider impacts.

“There’s similar ambition in Otley Town Council and it’s exciting to think about what we can achieve over the coming decade working together.”

MP Alex Sobel (Lab, Leeds North West) said: “Leeds City Council has shown great vision and leadership, making the brave and difficult decisions necessary to ensure a carbon neutral city by 2030. It is clear the Conservative Government is not taking the climate problem seriously so it is down to local authorities to make the changes we so desperately need.”

Councillor Sandy Lay (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) said: “This shows Leeds is serious about meeting its responsibilities. Here in Otley and Yeadon we are keen to do ‘our’ bit as we have a number of council buildings that need solar panels, land to plant trees on and council depots that will benefit from the introduction of electric vehicles.”

Otley Town Council Leader Councillor Richard Hughes (Lib Dem, West Chevin) said: "I welcome any positive action on climate change and applaud the moves Leeds City Council is making to reduce the city's carbon footprint.

"Otley Town Council made an early declaration of a climate emergency and is developing its own actions in concert with those announced for Leeds more widely."

Fellow Otley Town Councillor Mick Bradley (Green, Danefield) said: "Leeds City Council (LCC) deserves credit for carrying out an extensive consultation on climate action and in setting up a Citizens Jury which has made 12 key recommendations - including making use of private cars a last resort for transportation and stopping Leeds Bradford Airport's expansion.

"Engaging with the public so everyone can  play a part is essential if real progress on climate action is to happen. Otley 2030, supported by Otley Town Council, will be seeking a similar engagement with local people throughout 2020.

"I also welcome Leeds' commitment to reduce its own emissions from 70,000 to 31,000 tonnes by 2025. In Otley we are looking at early installation of solar on a number of LCC owned public buildings and at possible retrofitting of some existing homes to high levels of insulation.

"The city council has cancelled the planned £100 million spend on new roads to the airport, which is welcome, but has not come out in opposition to airport expansion - nor is it planning to restrict car movements."

Leeds will also be investing more than £200 million in schemes linked to climate change over the next three years including £84 million on flood alleviation and £36 million to install a low carbon district heating network.