Doubts on ambitious cycling plans are rejected by Calderdale Consevative group leader

Ambitious plans of how West Yorkshire can tackle climate change by increasing the amount of bike journeys by 2,000 per cent in the next 18 years have been challenged.

Saturday, 15th August 2020, 8:00 am

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority has set a target for the region to be “net zero” carbon by 2038 with a host of environmentally-friendly schemes.

During an online meeting, Coun Steven Leigh, the Calderdale Conservative group leader, questioned how realistic it is to expect a 20-fold increase in cycling.

He said: “We want to increase walking by 80 per cent, and have 20 times more cycling. Are these figures achievable?”

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A cyclist in on Stainland Road, West Vale

However, Coun Susan Hinchcliffe, Bradford Council’s leader and the chairwoman of the combined authority, said: “We have to have ambition for the region, now is not the time to reduce that ambition. Relying on cars is not a sustainable way forward.”

To achieve its aim of reducing car travel by 21 per cent, the amount of walking will have to go up by 78 per cent, rail travel by 53 per cent, bus travel by 39 per cent and cycle trips by 2,000 per cent.

It would also involve planting the equivalent of 420 football pitches of trees, restoring peatland, reducing food waste by 38 per cent and using more sustainable energy.

Other plans include retrofitting 700,000 homes with energy efficiency measures, such as loft and cavity wall insulation and installing heat pump heating systems in over 300,000 homes.

People would also be encouraged to eat less meat and dairy to lower the emissions created by cows.

Groups from the transport, power, industry, buildings, land-use and agriculture sectors will be given the chance to have their say, before a public consultation later this year.