Friends of the Earth hit out at Calderdale Council's planning policies

Calderdale Council faces a tough challenge to hit climate change targets and must deal with “schizophrenia” between environmental and planning policies, says a campaign group.

By John Greenwood - Local Democracy Reporter
Monday, 31st January 2022, 11:37 am
Updated Monday, 31st January 2022, 12:09 pm

Calderdale Friends of the Earth (FoE) says Sunday, January 30, marks the third anniversary of the council’s declaration of “climate emergency” in which it, like all others across West Yorkshire, agreed to achieve “Net Zero”carbon dioxide emissions by 2038.

FoE co-ordinator Anthony Rae says for the district this will involve halving emissions by 2030, from just over one million tonnes of carbon a year to 550,000 tonnes – and action must be accelerated and an action plan must identify how it is to be achieved.

Mr Rae said: “We’ve done an audit of decisions taken in the three years since climate emergency was declared, and whilst there are both positive and negative developments, on balance it’s found that the Calderdale Council response has been inadequate.”

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The audit was presented to the council at Cabinet public question time this month when Mr Rae said a divergence between the council’s climate strategy and its draft Local Plan, which might be adopted this year, amounted to “schizophrenia”.

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The Local Plan would embed an “unsustainable growth pattern” across Calderdale with increased highway capacity emissions in the 2020s, he said.

“Does the Leader and the Cabinet member for climate change agree with FoE that more urgent action needs to be taken at Calderdale, West Yorkshire and national levels to accelerate decarbonisation?” said Mr Rae.

Cabinet member for Climate Change and Resilience, Coun Scott Patient (Lab, Luddenden Foot) said he agreed about the urgent need for action on a national, regional and borough basis.

Coun Patient said, including items on green and healthy streets policy and de-carbonisation of a public building to be discussed on the night’s agenda, there was a lot more being done in Calderdale than the paper suggested.

There was the council’s emission reduction pathway in place with an action plan to follow and that was “the right way round,” he said.

Coun Patient said elements around the Local Plan were an important indicator.

“I guess it depends on how you look at that – one might argue we are creating a place where we keep people within Calderdale, cut down on emissions and create a stronger sense of place for those living here,” he said.

It was important to protect green space but there was space for new homes, said Coun Patient.

The FoE audit argues that at the West Yorkshire level, the problem is even bigger, with emissions from transport alone, the largest sector, have to be reduced by 250,000 tonnes a year.

Mr Rae said afterwards: “We know that Calderdale Council is trying hard, within the district and alongside Metro Mayor Tracy Brabin, to bring forward plans to tackle climate change.

“Our audits have revealed however that their proposed actions would be too little, too late.”

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