Senior North Yorkshire councilors have admitted many of the authority’s climate change goals will only be achieved if the government funds them.
Approving a public consultation over its long-awaited carbon-cutting masterplan, several executive members of North Yorkshire County Council emphasized the authority would steer clear of over-promising what it could achieve given funding and powers at its disposal.
Cllr Greg White, the authority’s climate change executive member, said six months after declaring a climate emergency the authority had formed a plan about how it would get its own emissions to net zero.
He said in addition, the North Yorkshire and York Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) had developed its own plan or roadmap for the area, featuring what he described as the “extremely ambitious” target of net zero carbon emissions by 2034 and becoming carbon negative by 2040.
He told executive members they were being asked to endorse, rather than adopt the LEP’s plan, whilst “recognizing many of the actions and ambitions are actually the responsibilities of others and not in control of this council” and approve a draft carbon cutting plan for the new unitary authority.
When questioned by Liberal Democrat Cllr Steve Mason over whether the authority would pursue area-wide ambitions, Cllr White replied the authority would be reliant on residents, traders and the government for the latter.
He said the authority was set to endorse the LEP’s roadmap, but would stop short of adopting it as it could not fulfil many of the targets.
Cllr White said:
“What we are today doing is widening what we do as a council beyond a focus on what we actually do ourselves, in terms of our vans and our buildings, to how we can help across the whole of the council and help with things like homelessness.
“However, we have to be constantly aware we can only do what we can do within the funding that we have available and the powers we have available to us. We want to take a leadership role and that is the most you can hope for.”
Carbon targets can be met if we all work together. Governments, citizens and corporations
Financial support is required to scale up solutions.