Five years of climate action progress

Cllr Patient in role as flood warden

Calderdale Council is marking five years since it declared a climate emergency by reflecting on the progress made since that time, working with partners to increase resilience and deal with the impacts of the climate crisis.

On 30 January 2019, the Council declared a climate emergency in a bold move to step up its action to tackle climate change. Just over a year later, on 9 February 2020, the borough was dealing with the aftermath of serious flooding caused by Storm Ciara, which caused 10 miles of damage across Calderdale – a stark reminder of the climate crisis and the importance of taking action.

Strong partnership work across the borough has seen good progress being made on improving flood protection, increasing resilience and reducing the local impact of the global climate crisis. 

In December 2023, the Calderdale Climate Action Plan launched. The plan has been developed in partnership with people and organisations across Calderdale and focuses on the steps that everyone can take between 2023 and 2026 to achieve Calderdale’s target of net zero carbon emissions by 2038.

Significant progress has also been made on flood alleviation schemes across the borough with £133 million secured so far, to fund work across the key themes of strengthening defences, natural flood management, resilient infrastructure, and community resilience. By 2026, seven schemes are forecast to be complete, providing better protection to over 1,390 properties.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Action, Active Travel and Housing, Cllr Scott Patient, said:

“This winter, the UK has already experienced 10 named storms, the joint highest amount since the Met Office began its naming system in 2015, and we’re still only in January. These more frequent extreme weather events are part of the real impacts of climate change and as a council we continue to do all we can to take local action.

“As we mark the fifth anniversary of declaring a climate emergency, we can see how much progress has been made in this time. We’ve had our challenges, including the significant flooding in 2020, caused by Storm Ciara, but we’ve continued to learn, adapt and build resilience to protect the borough ,whilst making positive changes that will help us avoid a climate disaster and bring benefits for future generations.”

Extensive work has also been taking place to reduce the carbon emissions across the borough, including those associated with the Council estate. The Council is developing a Local Area Energy Plan in partnership with national consultants, Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES).It will help identify where changes can be made to decarbonise local heat and transport, improve the energy efficiency of buildings and generate renewable energy.

Funding of almost £300k from Innovate UK’s Net Zero Living Programme(external link) is also supporting the Calderdale Retrofit Challenge project, which looks at identifying solutions for retrofitting buildings in the borough, to make them more energy efficient. The project is being delivered in partnership with Carbon Co-op and Todmorden Learning Centre and Community Hub and will further contribute to the borough’s net zero targets by helping us to put in place plans to reduce carbon emissions associated with buildings.

Other climate action milestones in the last 12 months include:

  • The Council, in partnership with the Community Foundation for Calderdale, has invested in projects run by Calderdale voluntary and community groups, through the £1million Climate Action Fund. Groups around the borough have benefited from funding for projects which will have an impact on reducing the carbon footprint of their activities.
  • In June 2023, deliveries as part of the Calderdale Home Library service started to be made by an electric van for the first time, replacing the old diesel vehicle, reducing harmful emissions and improving air quality.
  • Work at Brearley Fields in Mytholmroyd is now mostly complete, transforming the former playing fields into a valuable wetland habitat. 
  • The new Halifax Bus Station features top quality climate credentials, with state-of-the-art environmentally friendly features contributing to local and regional net zero carbon targets.
  • Over 90 sites in the borough have now also been used for natural flood management (NFM), with £1million allocated to local landowners to support NFM measures on private land in Calderdale.
  • A programme of tree planting has been taking place at Council-owned sites across Calderdale.

Further work will be taking place across Calderdale throughout the next 12 months. To keep up to date, sign up for email updates at: Climate Emergency newsletter(external link)

The Eye on Calderdale(external link) website, is a one stop source of information about flooding in the borough, helping residents and businesses to become more resilient to the effects of climate change. ENDS