Harrogate Borough Council’s Carbon Reduction Strategy 2021 Revision Consultation Response Prompts

This strategy is open for public consultation and it would be helpful if as many ZCH supporters as possible could submit a response via the council’s website.

www.harrogate.gov.uk/haveyoursay

The suggestions below have been provided to help you quickly and easily complete the three questions posed. The first simply asks in what main capacity you are responding to the consultation.

If you don’t have much time, please simply pick a couple of points you feel strongly about from the selection below. Many of you will have additional ideas that you will want to add but please focus as much as possible on HBC’s role or how HBC work with others (e.g., please don’t say HBC should provide cycle paths, because NYCC Highways Authority is responsible for those but HBC should be working closely with them).

The deadline for submissions is Sunday, 2 January 2022

Question 2: Do you have any general comments about the draft carbon reduction strategy?

It’s a good idea to start with one or two positives. For example, the strategy:

  • Recognises the need for urgency and states the key aim of reaching net zero by 2038.
     

  • Uses reliable datasets to outlines the scale of the challenge (e.g. 72% reduction from 2005 by 2025) and to explain that at current rate and volume of emissions Harrogate District will exceed its carbon budget in under 9 years.
     

  • Accepts the responsibility for HBC to go beyond their own operations to include influencing Harrogate District.
     

  • Notes that HBC have positive experiences to build on, including meeting the voluntary public sector 30% reduction target, retrofitting and establishing the Harrogate Car Club.

Then to follow up with two or three things which you think would help make the strategy more effective:

  • The strategy needs to be much more ambitious & rigorous. Some things which could help to improve it are:

    • It could explain what “decarbonisation” and “sustainability” include e.g., in theme 5 around HBC using its influence through the planning system for new development.
       
    • It should explain how HBC intend to achieve net zero from high emitting facilities such as HBC swimming pools and the Allerton Waste Recovery Park.
       
    • The estimated cost of the work should be provided, with an indication of how HBC intend to fill any shortfall in funding.
       
    • Scope and timetable of monitoring activity should be indicated.
       
    • Quantified potential carbon savings should be provided for any future projects so we can understand if the scale and pace of HBC’s strategy will address the problem.
       
    • Timescales should be given for any future projects.
       
  • The strategy needs to be much better informed by up-to-date research. Some things which could help to improve it are:
     

    • It should recognise the need to reduce overall demand for energy as well as the need for local generation of renewable energy.
       

    • It should strongly recognise that national government policies – even after COP26 - are severely limit local action towards net zero in key sectors such as transport and heating.
       

    • It needs to recognise that EVs have a higher carbon footprint than readily available forms of shared transport or active travel (lifetime emissions from an EV are approximately half that of a petrol car).
       

    • It should refer to the need for decarbonisation activity to take place at the same time as local planning for climate resilience, adaptation and biodiverse habitats.
       

  • The Strategy does not inspire confidence that the new unitary authority will be able to move Harrogate District swiftly to net zero, because there is little about how the two councils will work together. Aspects which require joint work include infrastructure such as reducing speed limits, cycleways and footpaths, as well reducing the very high emissions from Allerton Waste Recovery Park.
     

  • The Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition are mentioned many times but who are they? A charity which does not yet have any paid staff. Their website is out of date, which does not make me think they will be able to do much.
     

  • It would be helpful to know how HBC expect to use their influence to effect behaviour change amongst residents.
     

Q3: Are you aware of additional opportunities for carbon reduction not already covered in the draft reduction strategy?

There are many opportunities for carbon reduction which are not already covered in the draft strategy. For example:
 

BUSINESSES
 

  • HBC could provide support to SME’s (small and medium-sized enterprises) with their plans towards net zero.
     

ENERGY
 

  • HBC could encourage local generation of energy at new developments as well as at existing business and residential premises.
     

  • HBC could purchase a renewable electricity contract for use in HBC premises.
     

  • HBC could facilitate the purchase of bulk renewable electricity contracts for businesses and residents.
     

NEW BUILDINGS & DEVELOPMENTS
 

  • HBC could work with NYCC and others to ensure all new developments are ’20-minute neighbourhoods.’
     

  • HBC could work with NYCC and others to ensure all new developments include local energy generation and integrated sustainable transport infrastructure, such as footpaths, bike lanes, car clubs and bus routes, before the houses are occupied.
     

  • HBC could proactively approach developers who seek to build properties that reflect new, sustainable, net zero lifestyles.
     

TRANSPORT
 

  • HBC fleet could be fully electrified and maximum possible use made of shared, public and active travel modes for HBC business.
     

  • HBC could work with NYCC and others to develop an integrated travel plan for Harrogate district which encourages a vast reduction in car miles per person which includes public transport, shared transport (car clubs and car sharing), active travel (walking and cycling), recognition of the last mile(s).
     

  • HBC could work with NYCC and the police to reduce the speed limit to “20s Plenty” in all urban areas. This would reduce emissions per mile and would also improve road safety for pedestrians and cyclists, thus increasing take up. Reduced speeds limits to 60mph on the A1M and 50mph on A-roads would cut emissions by 10% on these roads.
     

LAND USE & AGRICULTURE
 

  • HBC could work with landowners in the Harrogate District to improve the carbon capture potential of upland peat, farmland, grassland and woodlands.
     

RESOURCES & WASTE
 

  • HBC could introduce electric bin lorries in urban areas.
     

  • HBC could work with NYCC to develop alternatives to the Allerton Waste Recovery Park, because this is where much of the waste HBC collects goes and it is the district’s largest emitter of CO2.
     

  • HBC could provide relevant information to the public about consumption emissions to help residents stop exporting around half of current emissions to the places where the stuff we buy is manufactured (often China and other countries in the Asia).
     

BEHAVIOUR CHANGE & COMMUNICATION
 

  • HBC needs to ensure all teams, but particularly those with outward facing communications roles, have sufficiently up-to-date and skilled capacity to address public concerns and bring the public with them whilst avoiding known problems which can arise through inappropriate phrasing and emphasis.
     

  • HBC communications and pace of action on climate could be much improved in order to avoid any repeat of the largely avoidable backlash against potentially helpful initiatives such as the Beech Grove low traffic neighbourhood (LTN), Station Gateway Project and Otley Road cycleway.