Ideas pitched for £1m climate fund to tackle pollution in Calderdale

A new £1 million fund to tackle climate change saw some potential projects suggested by a panel set up to help grapple with the task.

Saturday, 20th March 2021, 3:00 pm

The council’s Public Health Director, Debs Harkins, told members of Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Climate Change Working Party that the Carbon Neutral Fund will be split 50-50 between the council’s own schemes and money made available to community environmental projects.

Cabinet agreed the funding, which is additional to directorates’ existing responsibilities to tackle the climate

emergency, in February and it was taken into the budget agreed at the end of that month.

Tackling climate change in Calderdale

The Carbon Neutral Fund is dedicated to accelerating the pace of these environmental projects, said the accompanying briefing paper.

The council has proposed the fund should be established in partnership with Community Foundation for Calderdale (CFFC) to distribute money, and possibly generate match funding.

Coun James Baker (Lib Dem, Warley) said he hoped he could see some of the council money going towards unlocking Government grant money to repurpose council buildings to be more carbon friendly and some community money could go into insulating some housing stock on north Halifax.

He hopes the council can create apprenticeships with young people being taught how to fit insulation, damp courses and the like, lending additional public health and economic aspects.

The council could also promote the community money available and allow people to donate to the fund, said Coun Baker, and panel chair Coun Scott Patient (Lab, Luddenden Foot) agreed that was a good idea.

Coun Colin Hutchinson (Lab, Skircoat) liked Coun Baker’s suggestion of teaching young people skills which would be needed to help achieve targets and said the new Todmorden Learning Centre at Todmorden Community College would be running courses in these.

Finn Jensen of Blackshaw Environmental Action Team (BEAT) pointed out other local authorities had set aside enormous sums of money which would be needed to tackle the climate emergency and hoped this initial commitment would not be a “stand alone” pot of money.

Coun Regan Dickenson (Con, Rastrick) said the council could look to emulate East Cheshire, which was fuelling its trucks using hydrogen created by solar panels at the depot, and another idea would be looking at using weirs along the River Calder as a power source.

Coun Patient said the issue could be explored, as could a suggestion from Calderdale Friends of the Earth’s Anthony Rae to explore management of Calderdale’s peatlands. A working party could possibly look at bidding for funding.

Coun Jenny Lynn (Lab, Park) suggested Slow The Flow could be asked to explore possible locations for generating water power.

Coun Patient said Slow The Flow had answered a question about beavers being introduced – they would not be suitable for the River Calder.

“So sadly we won’t be seeing them any time soon!” he said.