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Statement to the annual meeting of York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority on behalf of North Yorkshire Climate Coalition and the York and North Yorkshire network of Friends of the Earth

31 May 2024

First of all, we would like to congratulate David Skaith on becoming the region’s first mayor. 

 

In the run-up to May 2nd, we asked all the candidates to set out how they would make our region a climate leader if elected.

 

At our online climate and nature hustings on 22 April, David showed great interest in harnessing the region’s potential for renewables generation, in forging a truly integrated transport system, in rapidly expanding the skills base we need to build that green economy and in restoring the natural world here in York and North Yorkshire – our waterways, coasts and moorland – to its full health and its full glory.

 

Of course, as environmental campaigners, you would expect us to focus on these issues.

But as it happens, the things we are asking for – above all a rapid transition to a low-carbon economy – are very much aligned with the Devolution Deal and with the Mayor’s plans to grow the region’s economy by channelling public funds and attracting major private investment into sustainable, climate-friendly forms of economic growth.

 

The Devolution Deal says this:

 

“York and North Yorkshire have the ambition to be net zero by 2034 and to become England’s first carbon-negative region by 2040. …. The region has been working closely with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Local Net Zero Hubs and with National Energy Systems Catapult to be a trailblazing region, delivering net zero ambitions whilst creating significant new economic opportunities.

On that note, we welcome the pledge made by the Mayor during his campaign to (I quote) “use my powers, funding and influence to deliver the actions necessary to tackle the climate and nature emergencies.”

To that end, we’d like to take this opportunity to propose an immediate first step in that direction – at least one full day of accredited climate literacy training for the entire combined authority team – to help you fulfil that pledge to the electorate and give you the knowledge and understanding that you need to make climate-aware decisions on our behalf across your wide range of responsibilities.

Finally – in the role of critical friend – we hope to forge a strong and constructive working partnership with you as you translate the Devolution Deal’s net zero ambitions into action. 

We’re eager to get started on that, and we look forward to meeting you as soon as possible.

 

Thank you.

North Yorkshire Climate Coalition

Friends of the Earth in York and North Yorkshire 

31 May 2024

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