City of York Council

Committee Minutes


Climate Emergency Policy and Scrutiny Committee


12 April 2022


Councillors Vassie (Chair), S Barnes, Wann, Perrett, Melly and Fenton


Councillors Baker



39.        Declarations of Interest


At this point, Members were asked to declare any personal interests not included on the Register of Interests, any prejudicial interests or any disclosable pecuniary interests which they may have in respect of business on the agenda. None were declared.





40.        Minutes


It was confirmed that a previously approved set of minutes had been attached to the agenda in error. The minutes from the 8 March 2022 will be taken to the next Committee meeting.





41.        Public Participation


It was reported that there had been seven registrations to speak

under the Council’s Public Participation Scheme.


Flick Williams asked where was a plan for disabled people noting that she felt it was absent from the Climate Change Strategy. She suggested that the Council needed to address disabled mobility needs and avoid making disabled individuals victims of eco-accessism.


Dave Merrett stated that he was disappointed by the Climate Change Strategy and noted that it needed to be more ambitious. He noted the Councils stated ambition on climate change and outlined the work required in areas such as building retrofitting to achieve those aims.


Debby Cobbett noted that 3 years since the climate emergency was declared by the Council that she felt insufficient work had taken place. She also questioned the data provided in the report on areas such as carbon footprints which she felt other data calculators showed less favourable statistics to the ones the Council had used. She asked that the Council look to Council’s such as Leeds regarding the work they were undertaking.


Kate Lock questioned why there was a lack of vision or actions within the Climate Change Strategy. She also asked why there was little details on the risks associated with climate change, noting that this was likely more than just increased flooding. She also suggested that the Council were being less ambitious than was required.   


Kate Ravilious spoke on behalf of the York Cycle Campaign and she noted that the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report showed the challenge to address climate change. She noted that she felt the Council had not outlined in its Climate Change Strategy how it would achieve its carbon reduction ambitious and noted that it didn’t show how it would address a reduction in cycling in York since 2014. She asked that the Council look at best practice from other councils and that they complete the Councils Transport Strategy before making a decision on new car parks.


Tom Franklin spoke as the Chair of the York Green Group and noted that it was good to see a Climate Change Strategy and plans for things such as zero carbon homes. However, he noted that he felt the strategy was not ambitious enough and did not address scope 3 emissions nor would it meet the ambition set out at the Paris Climate Commission.


Richard Lane noted that the Council’s Climate Change Strategy was insufficient to not exceed 1.5C global warming. He noted that plans for retrofitting looked good but that the strategy needed strengthening with clear targets on how to achieve carbon reductions.


Geoff Beacon stated that he had been excluded from providing evidence to the local plan and that some wealthier areas in York had 5 times the emissions of lower income areas. He suggested the Council needed to support those areas with higher emissions to reduce and that the Council needed to build more low carbon areas and less emphasis on building for car travel





42.        Local Transport Plan 4 Update Presentation


Officers provided the Committee with an extensive presentation regarding the emerging Local Transport Strategy (LTS). It was confirmed that the Council was working to complete a LTS and not a Local Transport Plan (LTP) as additional guidance was expected from government to be able to complete the an LTP. It was confirmed that once guidance on the LTP had been received that the Council would develop an LTP using work undertaken developing the LTS.


The Committee discussed the information provided in the presentation noting that they were disappointed in the time taken to develop a LTS. Some concerns were raised that major transport projects were being completed without a new strategy in place. The committee suggested that strategies and projects could be further joined up so that decisions made on specific projects could show why a decision was taken against the strategies being developed and in relation to climate change how they would meet carbon reduction ambitions.


It was confirmed that the Council was able to measure the projected impact on carbon reductions on major projects. Officers confirmed that they had access to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) calculator, it was confirmed that this was more challenging for smaller projects to effectively measure impact.


The Council’s strategy regarding car parking in the city was discussed as well as case studies commissioned by the Council to support developing transport strategies, by exploring best practice at other councils.




                      i.       That officers seek permission from the Executive Member for Transport and the Civic Trust to publish case studies into best practice transport policies;

                     ii.       Noted the presentation on the progress in developing the Local Transport Strategy.


Reason:     To ensure the Committee has the opportunity to feed into the development of the Local Transport Strategy.





43.        Climate Change Strategy & Update


Officers introduced the update on the Council’s Climate Change Strategy. They noted that the Climate Change strategy would show the need to act immediately and a pathway for the city to make a 54% reduction in carbon emissions on 2019 levels.

To achieve the Council’s net zero carbon ambition would require the city to go beyond the emissions reduction of the pathway.


Officers also confirmed that it would be Full Council  and not the Executive Member for Environment and Climate Change who would approve the final strategy. It was confirmed that the  approval of the final strategy had been delayed. This was due to a delay from the Council’s Economic Strategy, which had been planned to be completed alongside the Climate Change Strategy so that the strategies could work in tandem.


The Committee noted its disappointment that a full action plan outlining  required actions to be taken to achieve the targeted 54% carbon reductions across the city was no included within the strategy. Members noted the benefit that such an action plan could have even if actions could not currently be costed or were outside of the Council’s primary control. They also gave examples of how other local authorities had created strategies with additional detail on how they would deliver against targets.


Officers confirmed that specific actions plans, which were separate to the consideration of the Climate Change Strategy, had been considered. Members were informed that progress review of current and future actions undertaken and planned for the next 18 months, would be discussed at the 11 May 2022 Executive Member for Environment and Climate Change. It was confirmed that the decision on these actions could be brought to the Committee for scrutiny.


Members noted that it was necessary to include and engage local residents when tackling Climate Change and that the Council needed to focus on widening participation. The Chair of the York Climate Commission would be in attendance at the Committee’s July meeting, which would give the Committee the opportunity to discuss with the Chair of the Commission how they could include residents groups and trade unions in its meetings. Members also discussed engagement with local residents in the city to ensure that groups such as disabled residents were not left behind when taking actions to reduce carbon emissions.


Members highlighted the importance of performance measurements in regards to the Council’s actions to reduce emissions. This would allow the Council to understand the level of impact its actions were having as well as  providing further evidence when identifying gaps in funding that were required to meet the Council’s carbon reduction goals.


It was noted that the Council’s current plans would not be compliant with the Paris Climate Accord and Members considered how investment and funding could be accessed to try and achieve the objectives set out in Paris. Members also discussed whether the Council could explore its own investments in new technology and services that could reduce carbon emissions and generate a profit for the Council which could be invested back into Council services.




                      i.       18 month action plan be added to the Committee’s work plan for its meeting on the 20 July 2022.


Reason:     To ensure the Committee has the opportunity to scrutinise the Council’s carbon reduction actions against the developing Climate Change Strategy. 










Cllr Vassie, Chair

[The meeting started at 5.30 pm and finished at 8.19 pm].




























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