Leeds City Council is stepping up its efforts to turn a vision of a cleaner, greener city into a reality.
day, senior councillors have heard that the city is ahead of schedule to meet carbon reduction targets.
Harmful carbon dioxide emissions fell by 14.4% between 2005 and 2009 and if emissions continue to fall at the same rate, the city will be on track to cut emissions by 40% by 2020.
Members of the executive board have approved a bid to a European support fund to help the council tackle even bigger energy projects that will significantly improve the city’s environmental performance.
Projects that have helped cut emissions include: adapting council buildings with energy efficient technology saving over 1,600 tonnes of CO2; installing free insulation in 5,000 homes with Wrap Up Leeds cutting over 5,000 tonnes of CO2 so far; and Leeds has more BREEAM excellent rated buildings – a measure of how green, efficient and sustainable a building is from design to construction and use – than any other comparable city.
To ensure that the headway in reducing emissions already made can be maintained, the council will be submitting an expression of interest to the European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) fund.
ELENA helps by providing technical support to develop projects that will allow councils to generate their own energy or help others save energy.
If successful, the council would receive 90% of the funding needed to turn big ideas that are technically feasible into robust, realistic business cases that the private sector would want to invest in.
Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment said:
“We’re pleased that emissions are reducing. We’re tackling what we control as an organisation but if the ambitious 40% target is to be met, we need to continue to improve.
“Most of Leeds’ emissions comes from energy in one form or another but as a local authority, generating energy isn’t our primary focus. To make sure that we can create the right conditions for investment and bolster the green economy, getting support from ELENA would represent a major step forward for us as a city, not just a council.”
The council would use support from ELENA to make district heating projects, energy efficiency programmes for residential and commercial buildings and development of fuelling stations for gas and electric vehicles commercially viable.
The ELENA bid forms one of the actions the council is taking to deliver its commitments in Leeds’ climate change strategy.
Launched in July 2009, the city’s climate change strategy explains what organisations across the city will do to stop harmful carbon emissions being released into Leeds’ atmosphere and help Leeds adapt to conditions a changing climate will bring.
The strategy is being revised to reflect the progress already made and will be re-launched soon.
For media enquiries please contact:
Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1577