Kirklees Council has written to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak calling for funding to support essential climate action.

The council has approved its Climate Change Action Plan and now Cabinet member for greener Kirklees, Clr Will Simpson, and Prof Peter Roberts, chairman of the Kirklees Climate Commission, have penned a joint letter.

The letter asks for support, in particular, for delivering cost-effective measures, identified by research commissioned by the Kirklees Climate Commission and the council, to tackle the climate emergency and help Kirklees to reach the ambitious target of net zero by 2038.

The research into climate change in Kirklees by leading academics at the University of Leeds found that implementing certain cost-effective measures – measures which would pay for themselves following initial investment – would close the 2038 emissions gap by 47% and reduce energy bills in Kirklees by over £157m per year.

These measures include steps such as improvements to the thermal performance of housing and decarbonising transport, two of the highest emission sectors.

At the last Kirklees full council meeting, a representative of Huddersfield Friends of the Earth described Kirklees’ climate plan as “strategic and visionary.”

Clr Simpson, who is also vice-chairman of the Kirklees Climate Commission, said: “We are proud that over 100 actions to address climate change have already been implemented or are ongoing, but there is much more that we all need to do.

“While this will require investment, we also know that the real cost of inaction is far greater than the cost of taking action now.

“And the cost-effective measures that we can take now would not only reduce our emissions, but help residents with the cost of living crisis and build a better borough for us all.

“Kirklees is committed to playing a leading role locally in tackling the climate emergency but we need support from the Government to turn our vision for Net Zero into reality.

Prof Roberts added: “If we are to have a fighting chance of tackling the climate emergency, reaching Kirklees’ target of net zero by 2038, and making our contribution to limiting the rise in global temperatures to 1.5°C, we need the resources to do so.

“Our letter to the Prime Minister raises this vital issue and asks what support is and will be made available.

“The focus of any investment in Kirklees will be the cost-effective actions outlined by our Net Zero study, which will not only reduce climate emissions but also help reduce energy bills across Kirklees.”

As the UK Climate Change Committee has outlined, 30% of the progress required to reach net zero nationally relies on actions that are within the influence of local authorities. Kirklees declared a ‘climate emergency’ in 2019.