The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has adopted an ambitious new ‘Carbon Reduction Plan’, six months after declaring a climate emergency.
It requires the Authority to practically eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from its operations over the course of the decade.
The plan had been due to come before Members at a full Authority meeting on 31 March (see item 5 of the agenda here), but with all committee meetings cancelled in response to the Coronavirus epidemic, the Authority’s Chief Executive David Butterworth has used ‘Urgency/Emergency’ powers delegated to him from the Authority to formally adopt it.
The plan contains a new objective which commits the Authority to reducing its emissions by 95% by 2030, compared with a 2005 baseline. By March last year, the Authority had reduced its emissions by 62%, compared with 2005.
Over the next five years the Authority will install further renewable or low energy technologies across its estate, which consists of four office buildings, four National Park Centres (including the Dales Countryside Museum), four workshops and 10 public toilet blocks.
All the Authority’s leased vehicles will be switched to plug-in electric, while carbon dioxide emissions from journeys made by car by officers, Members and volunteers will be reduced by at least 10% by 2025 and by 50% by 2030.
The Authority will also maintain a £30,000 a year budget to directly fund new woodlands. This means that by 2030, the amount of carbon dioxide sequestered annually from woodlands funded by the National Park Authority will be at least 30 times the amount it emits.
The Chairman of the National Park Authority, Carl Lis, said: “The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has been moving to a low carbon existence for some time, but having declared a ‘climate emergency’ last September, we must show what we can do in deeds not words. It is called an emergency for a reason.
“The Carbon Reduction Plan will take the Authority way beyond ‘net zero’. It will not be straightforward but we don’t undertake these actions because they are easy. We do them because they are hard. We expect to be judged, by future generations, on our actions not our words, and we expect others to be judged in the same way.
“The Authority and its partners have already set out ambitions, in the National Park Management Plan 2019-24, for making the wider National Park more resilient and responsive to the impacts of a changing climate. We look forward to working with others to achieve the objectives in that plan. What we are doing with our Carbon Reduction Plan is demonstrating how we are going to get our own house in order.”