Issue - meetings

North Yorkshire Climate Change Strategy for adoption

Meeting: 18/07/2023 - Executive (Item 284)

284 North Yorkshire Climate Change Strategy pdf icon PDF 426 KB


The Executive are recommended to:

i)            Approve adoption of the North Yorkshire Council Climate Change Strategy

ii)           Agree that North Yorkshire Council signs up to the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission’s Climate Action Pledge


Additional documents:


Considered – A report of the Corporate Director for Environment seeking adoption of the North Yorkshire Council Climate Change Strategy and consideration of the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Action Pledge for signature.


Councillor Greg White introduced the report confirming a few minor amendments had been made to the draft Strategy since it was last considered by the Executive, as highlighted in the report.


It was noted that a public submission had been received from Mr Tim Larner - Vice Chair of Zero Carbon Harrogate, who was in attendance at the meeting to present his submission as follows:


In February 2023 you published your draft Climate Change Strategy for consultation.  Whilst we welcomed the strategic approach, but we felt the strategy was weak and we identified key actions in our consultation response to strengthen it.  You describe the adoption of the strategy today as “a defining moment” and we agree.


However, the strategy before you today, has stepped back from rather than stepping up to an ever-increasing challenge.  In February, the draft strategy said (page 18) “we have also set a target for the North Yorkshire Council to be net zero in its operational emissions by 2030”.  We would urge you to reconsider the final green box of the strategy (Appendix A) in the context of this earlier commitment “As a Council we will: …  seek to become operationally net zero by 2030” (dot point 1).  A “target” implies commitment backed up by delivery; “seek” implies only effort without any great expectation of success.  We urge you to retain the previous wording, using this opportunity to reconfirm your commitment to the action needed to achieve it. 


Unfortunately, one of the first actions in the strategy – the commitment to Departmental and Service action plans - has slipped by three months to March 2024 (dot point 5, same text box).  This slippage is important, because it fails to meet the timescale required to influence the 2024-25 budget cycle, leading to financially dependent action being delayed until 2025-26.  But the climate emergency is already here and cannot be delayed – we’ve just experienced the hottest UK June on record by 0.9oC, following on from the hottest year in 2022.


We would also urge you to reconsider your stance on Scope 3 emissions (dot point 4, same text box).  Support and encouragement alone will not change the behaviour of suppliers.  Suppliers should be required by goods and services specifications to deliver lower carbon solutions.  Carbon emissions should be incorporated into the evaluation frameworks for tender comparison.  We need to use our purchasing power to drive a low-carbon future.


In formal submissions to, and in informal conversations with, you we have argued for the widespread use of independently verified Carbon Literacy Training.  In our view, this possesses the potential to create a culture-changing approach to carbon reduction in North Yorkshire, but you commit only to “raise awareness” (dot point 5, same text box).


We would urge you to make modest but  ...  view the full minutes text for item 284