Call for regional stakeholders to engage in shaping ambitious decarbonisation pathways20 July 2020
The first part of a major study commissioned by the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), has identified what needs to change to realise our regional ambition to be carbon neutral by 2034 and carbon negative by 2040. Stakeholders and business leaders are now being asked to contribute towards developing policy to implement the study findings.
The York & North Yorkshire LEP, along with many regional stakeholders, recognises that climate change represents a significant threat to our economy, but so too, is one of our biggest opportunities. Reducing our carbon footprint and transitioning our region towards becoming a truly circular economy is key to delivering our region’s post COVID-19 recovery vision– to become a greener, fairer, stronger economy- and to achieving those priorities set out in our long term Local Industrial Strategy.
The study explores what scale of carbon reduction is needed to meet our targets, across the five biggest carbon-emitting sectors. Looking at the 5 sectors- transport, power, buildings, industry and land use and agriculture- it is clear that this ambition is stretching and will require significant change to make this happen.
On top of big changes needed in agriculture, we will need to employ people to plant 2000 hectares of new forest every year, the equivalent of over 3,700 football pitches, between now and 2038, as well as restore 100% of our peatlands.
13% of the region’s emissions come from domestic heating. To achieve zero emissions, almost every home in our region will need to install comprehensive insulation and transition to a low carbon heating alternative, requiring skilled workers to manufacture and install these systems. On this, it is good to see that the Chancellor in his Plan for Jobs announced that homeowners and landlords in England will now be able to apply for vouchers from a £2 billion Green Homes Grant scheme.
Road transport accounts for the most emissions in our region at 36% and 50% of this relates to private car use. To reduce this, we need to cut journeys by 15% (in vehicle km), and increase walking and cycling by a third and 9 times respectively.
The challenge is huge, but then so is the opportunity. The government’s plan focuses on being carbon- neutral by 2050. We need to go further and faster than this. We want our region to lead on demonstrating new technologies, approaches and models creating a regional testbed that ultimately, put us at the forefront of the agenda nationally and will in turn lead to greater opportunities for our businesses, people and places.
Ambitions of this size can only be achieved through collaboration. The York & North Yorkshire LEP is now able to share this study with stakeholders and local policymakers in order that collectively, the pathways to carbon- reduction can be shaped and firm plans put in place.
James Farrar, Chief Executive of the York & North Yorkshire LEP commented, “This has been a huge piece of work undertaken in partnership by our LEP and West Yorkshire Combined Authority and has provided us with real insight about how we need to evolve our economy and change behaviours across our region.
We need to come together now to look hard at the data in order that we can create some pathways to decarbonisation that we can all get behind and we invite stakeholders to engage in this process with us”.
A survey consultation process is launching today (20th July 2020) and will be closing on 7th August, with partners invited to take part in sector-specific surveys. Following this, we will then be working further with partners to co-create an ambitious “Roadmap Towards Carbon Negative”. This will build upon our existing Local Energy Strategy and Circular Economy Strategy to provide a clear pathway to a carbon-negative York and North Yorkshire.
For more information on this project and to find out how to get involved, please visit https://www.businessinspiredgrowth.com/carbon-abatement-pathways/.