If the future is green – then the future is also local. And Labour-run Leeds is at its forefront.

In a recent survey by the Local Authority Energy Index, Leeds came out fourth of the 25 authorities surveyed
– and with a score of 71.64 it was less than 2.5 points below the leaders Southampton [also, by the way, a Labour-run Council – in fact three out of the top 4 are Labour controlled councils.]

Neil Walshaw, Labour's Headingley Councillor, on a walkabout in the Manors and Richmonds
Neil Walshaw, Labour’s Headingley Councillor, on a walkabout on the Manors and Richmonds

The survey scored councils for energy management of their own buildings, energy in the community – covering e.g. new developments and the help given to community groups to improve energy efficiency, energy in housing – including policies to combat fuel poverty, and energy infrastructure – locally-controlled energy infrastructure such as district heating and local electricity networks.

This ranking provides national confirmation of just how hard the Labour council is working to make Leeds a green, low carbon city.

The council believes that we should show clear environmental leadership, through everything we do.
– From how we collect and dispose of waste, to helping vulnerable people to insulate their homes;
– from the goods we buy, to how staff travel;
– from making our parks the best in the country, to building the lowest energy new homes possible.

It’s very hard to summarise everything the council is doing in this area. There is simply so much happening!
Some key achievements include:
• Insulated 10,007 lofts and cavity walls at no cost to the homeowners or landlords via Wrap Up Leeds in 2012. A council investment of just £379k secured over £3.3m of private sector investment, reduced heating costs by £1.4m pa, created around 120 person years of employment, lifted c500 people out of fuel poverty and reduced CO2 emissions by over 5,600 tonnes pa.

• Delivered the most successful Green Deal Demonstrator in the country in 2013 by super-insulating 691 homes using the Wrap Up Leeds + brand. The project cost £4.19m but the council only paid £24,000, householders took out £676,000 of loans or up front payments and the rest was grant funded.

• Invested £3.24m since 2009 in major energy efficiency projects on council buildings including insulation, solar panels, biomass boilers, controls and lighting. This has helped reduce the council’s carbon emissions from 137,000 tonnes in 2008-09 to 116,100 tonnes in 2013-14.

• Expanded and improved recycling right across the city, increasing recycling rates from 32% in 2010 to 45% in 2013-14. We have therefore raised our target from 40% by 2020 to 50% by 2020 and now 55% by 2016. We are on target to achieve this.

• Working with Groundwork, Citizens Advice Bureau, Care and Repair and Leeds Community Foundation we helped 2,150 of the most vulnerable households with energy advice, boiler repairs, new heating systems and energy efficiency improvements in 2013-14 alone.

Leeds’ score on the Energy Index was almost double bottom-placed Swindon – a Tory controlled council.
And Green Party-controlled Brighton and Hove came 23rd out of the 25 councils assessed – with a score of only 45.92

As we’ve stressed before, Labour really delivers on the green agenda – with real action and achievement, nationally and locally.

In the second of these posts on Labour’s green agenda in Leeds, we’ll be reporting on Labour’s plans for the future.

In the meantime if you want to help get a green Labour government at Westminster – and to keep a green Labour government here in Leeds – sign up here

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