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Climate Emergency

Here you can find out what we are doing as a Council to help combat climate change.

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.

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Our vision

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:

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 and now we need your help visit


Our path to net zero


We are taking climate change seriously

In the last 12 months, 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.

Five big things

Our work on climate change falls into five key areas. For some examples, but is not a complete, see Climate emergency - Five big things, below. 

We will be posting more about this soon, so please check back later.

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.

More information will be posted here, soon.

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.

Useful resources

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.

Get involved

Learn more

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.


Five big things

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 five big things:

1) People and Communities

Clean air

In our "Let's Clear the Air" campaign, we work with young people and schools in the fight for our climate. Two great examples are:

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.


Resource Efficiency Fund

Local businesses can get support and funding for low carbon measures through the Resource Efficiency Fund.

Home Energy Efficiency

To know how your house can be more energy efficient to cut bills and carbon emissions, visit: Better Homes Calderdale.


2) Buildings and Technology

The Re:fit Project

Through an energy performance contract with SSE, we have invested in 26 Council buildings so far. This is to reduce carbon emissions by around 1,000 tonnes per year and cut running costs. Highlights include:

  • Nine buildings with roof-top solar panels.
  • Oil and coal boilers have been retired.
  • LED lighting has been put in many of the buildings.
  • Heating systems have been made better to improve their efficiency.

The project will also look at having renewable energy technologies on Council land.

Energy Saving Street Lighting

We will spend over £20m to upgrade street lights. This will give a 60% saving on energy use and lower emissions by over 3,000 tonnes a year.

Home Energy Efficiency

To know how your house can be more energy efficient to cut bills and carbon emissions, visit: Better Homes Calderdale.

3) Transport

Active Calderdale

This is our vision to be the most active borough in the north by 2024. Activity is:

  • Great for mental and physical health.
  • A sustainable travel choice that will reduce our reliance on cars and build our resilience.
  • Improves our air quality.

Next Chapter

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.

Electric Cars

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 30 Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) consisting of 29 vans and 1 car as well as 5 hybrid vehicles on our fleet.

We are also increasing infrastructure by introducing rapid chargers for taxis and the public at some public car parks. This is a project we are doing with WYCA and Engie.


4) Land, Land Use & Biodiversity

Eye On Calderdale

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.

Natural Flood Management

We are working closely with partners and voluntary groups to protect Calderdale from future flooding via natural flood management.

White Rose Forest

The community forest for North and West Yorkshire.

It works with local authorities, landowners, businesses and communities to:

  • Increase tree cover across the region;
  • and improve our natural environment.

5) Food

Calderdale Food Network

The network's vision is to establish a culture where healthy, affordable an sustainable local food can be accessed by all.

Calderdale Food Charter

The Calderdale Food Network encourages you to:

  • Sign up to the charter;
  • and pledge to take action to grow a healthy sustainable food culture in Calderdale.

To sign up, email: or join our Facebook page.

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