We must act now
With its steep-sided valleys and riverside communities, Calderdale is more vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
In recent years, the number and severity of flooding events in the borough has greatly increased. Our climate has changed - and Calderdale is flooding more frequently than at any time in history.
Early 2019, we declared a climate emergency. This recognised the threat and challenge that climate change is to Calderdale. It was a bold move, but we know we must step up action to tackle climate change in our borough.
Since then, we have made major progress and have hit our historic target to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020. We must go further and faster, if we are to meet our new target of net zero emissions by 2038.
Our vision for Calderdale in 2024 and beyond is:
- To be a place where you can realise your potential;
- and live a larger life, whoever you are.
Critical in achieving this vision we will need to:
- Make sure that we protect Calderdale's distinctive environment;
- and be resilient to the effects of climate change.
For more about our work to tackle climate change, please see our Climate Action Plan:
Zero Carbon Calderdale - Video Transcript
>> Narrator: You may have noticed in the last decade flooding in Calderdale has been worse than ever before. Worryingly this is a pattern that is also being seen across the world as extreme weather events are on the rise. Perhaps your family and friends in other countries have experienced heatwaves or forest fires. All of this is a direct result of climate change.
The main cause of climate change is carbon dioxide. It is released into the environment when we burn fossil fuels like petrol, diesel, gas and coal. It warms our atmosphere. It is this warming that increases our risk of extreme weather.
Climate change is a global issue, but we all have a role to play in protecting our planet. In Calderdale we've pledged to become net zero by 2038. To get to net zero, we must cut our carbon emissions to an amount that trees and moorlands can absorb. Reducing the energy we use at home and using our cars less often are great first steps. There are other things we can do together to make a difference too. Reducing the amount of meat and dairy food we eat. Working to restore nature. Insulating our homes and switching to clean renewable energy are just a few examples.
People from all walks of life are stepping up to tackle climate change. Now we need your help, visit calderdale . gov . uk / climate emergency
Our path to net zero
We are taking climate change seriously
We have made great progress in Calderdale, as we:
- Hit our historic target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 40% by 2020.
- Declared a bold and ambitious target of net zero emissions by 2038 and mapped out a path to get us there.
- Invested in a range of net zero projects to tackle the climate emergency in the borough.
- Work with the Community Foundation for Calderdale (CFFC) on a joint £1 million Climate Emergency Fund.
To find out more, please see our video: Tackling the Climate Emergency in Calderdale.
Emissions Reduction Pathway
We have set out the steps we need to take to meet our ambitious target of net zero emissions by 2038.
This 'roadmap' shows how to cut our fossil fuel use with clean technology and investment in communities.
It focuses on the key themes of transport, buildings/technology, land use and diverse biology.
It will be used to create a Climate Action Plan for the borough with specific actions and dates for delivery.
About climate change
What causes climate change?
Some chemicals like refrigerants and fertilisers, but the main culprit is the Carbon Dioxide (CO2).
This is released into the environment when we burn fossil fuels (petrol, diesel, gas and coal).
- Some CO2 is also released when we burn wood;
- or from moorland that has been damaged and is in an unhealthy state.
Why is climate change important?
The latest scientific data is clear, humans have caused climate change.
The earth is around 1.2 degrees centigrade warmer than it was in pre-industrial times.
This change means extreme weather, such as flooding, heatwaves and moorland wildfires are more likely.
How does climate change affect us in Calderdale?
In Calderdale, our geography makes us vulnerable to flooding.
You may have noticed that the number and severity of floods in Calderdale have greatly increased over the last decade.
This is a direct result of climate change.
How quickly do we need to act?
Every bit of 'warming' increases the risk of extreme weather, so it is important to act quickly.
Scientists agree that 1.5 degrees centigrade of warming is the limit before we reach big system changes.
This could mean the total melting of the icecaps and dangerous mass climatic shifts.
Projections show that we will exceed 1.5 degrees by 2050.
To stop this happening we need to become net zero before this date.
What is net zero?
This means finding a balance between the greenhouse gases that:
- A person or organisation puts into the atmosphere;
- and those that are 'taken out'.
It is making sure that for all the gases put in the air, the same amount is removed.
This makes you carbon 'neutral'.
How do we become net zero?
The first step to becoming net zero is to avoid emitting carbon in the first place. We can do this by:
- Cutting our use of fossil fuel;
- switching to clean renewable energy;
- and reducing the amount of energy we use.
In practice, this looks like insulating a house, using the car less often and reducing food waste for example.
As a last step, there are ways to neutralise or 'offset' any other emissions that cannot be avoided. This can be done in a number of ways, like planting trees.
Currently, we burn so many fossil fuels that nature cannot keep up.
What targets do we have for climate change in Calderdale?
The UK has set a target of being net zero by 2050.
Here we are going above and beyond this. We have set a target of being net zero by 2038, with major progress by 2030.
What is the Council doing to tackle climate change?
We are proud to be taking the lead locally. We deliver and support a range of projects and schemes as part of our climate emergency response.
For more details, please see: Calderdale's path to zero carbon.
The climate emergency cannot be tackled by one person. However, we can all play our part from changing the food that we eat to how we get around.
- Personal actions can reduce your footprint and encourage greater action on climate change. The Grantham Institute has a list of the top 9 things individuals can do.
- Think about your own footprint by using the WWF calculator.
- The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This is the United Nations body that looks at the science around climate change.
- The Committee on Climate Change. These give independent advice to the UK Government on building a low-carbon economy and being ready for climate change.
- The West Yorkshire mayor has launched a plan to tackle the climate and environment emergency in our region.
Calderdale Data Works
Here you can find 'open data' that is free for anyone to use and republish, as they wish.
- There is a range of climate data, such as air quality and CO2 emissions.
- Use our data, share your ideas, read our stories and submit your data.
- Help build a bigger, richer picture of Calderdale.
For more about this, visit: Data Works.
Working together on our commitments
Here are examples of the work we are involved in as part of our climate emergency response. This is not a complete list, so check back for more content soon. Please explore our six themes:
Watch: Giving youth a voice on climate change (YouTube).
This film describes how Calderdale's young people have a voice on climate change.
UK Youth Council
This gives young people aged 11 to 18 years a voice, listened to by local, regional and national government.
The Climate Emergency is a priority for the Youth Council in Calderdale.
Work is underway to ensure clean air for all Calderdale residents, workers and visitors.
Community Climate Action
For an amazing community effort that helps protect the environment, watch Halifax Community Fridge's video:
Warm and Resilient Buildings
Calder Valley Community Land Trust
These provide affordable homes that are sustainable, energy-efficient and flood resilient. Low carbon buildings are cheaper to run and warmer.
For more about this, watch their video: Creating affordable, sustainable and resilient homes (YouTube).
Home Energy Efficiency
Find out how your house can be more energy efficient to cut bills and carbon emissions, visit: Better Homes Calderdale.
The Re:fit Project
Previous funding through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme has enabled us to cut energy use at:
- Bankfield Museum;
- Spring Hall;
- Brighouse Library and Art Gallery;
- Halifax Town Hall;
- Manor Heath Jungle Experience;
- Todmorden Market Hall;
- and Todmorden Sports Centre.
Three more of our buildings could become more energy efficient, as part the work to cut emissions across the borough. This would include:
- Air source heat pump and LED stage lighting at the Victoria Theatre and an increase in capacity to the substation.
- Air source heat pump and a new substation at Halifax Borough Market.
- Air source heat pump and solar panels at Beechwood Road Library.
Greenglade Nursery and Forest School (Hipperholme)
They have gone paperless, keeping digital records and communicating electronically.
The nursery also uses energy-efficient infrared heating and children grow their own vegetables and use an onsite composter.
Watch how this builds resilience and independence, as well as tackling the climate emergency:
Resource Efficiency Fund
Local businesses can get support and funds for low carbon measures. For details, visit: Resource Efficiency Fund.
Transport and Getting Around
Calderdale and Huddersfield Solutions
These lead the way on green transport, with all their vehicles being hybrid/low emission as standard.
Watch this video to see how businesses in Calderdale are taking climate action:
- Leading the way on green transport (YouTube).
Their mission is to work with communities to make physical activity a part of everyday life in Calderdale.
- Great for mental and physical health.
- A travel choice that will reduce our reliance on cars, build our resilience and improves air quality.
"When we move, we're stronger."
Through improvements to public transport and active mode infrastructure, we will create:
- Faster and more reliable journeys.
- Cleaner air.
- More jobs.
- Better access to skills.
These are Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs), unlike most petrol or diesel cars. They help improve air quality as they have zero emissions from the exhaust.
- We have 40 electric or hybrid vehicles to help reduce emissions and we work towards having a full fleet.
- We deliver library books across Calderdale in a cleaner, greener way, cutting the carbon footprint of the Home Library Service.
- We also work with partners to bring rapid chargers for taxis and the public at some car parks.
Land and Nature
Treesponsibility and St Joseph's Catholic Primary Academy
These have teamed up to plant new trees to help the environment.
Watch this short film to see how school children in Todmorden are tackling climate change:
- Making a difference, one tree at a time (YouTube).
This is a one-stop website for up-to-date information on flooding, weather and traffic disruption.
To find out what is being done to build our resilience against flooding, visit: Calderdale Flood Action Plan.
People are working together to protect Calderdale from future flooding via natural flood management. To get involved, visit these websites:
The community forest for North and West Yorkshire. It works with local authorities, landowners, businesses and communities to:
- Increase tree cover across the region.
- Improve our natural environment.