Climate action partnership launched in Richmondshire

Pond digging as part of climate change work at at St Francis Xavier School.

A new partnership set up to respond to the climate and environmental emergency has been launched in Richmondshire.

The district’s climate action partnership has already begun work on an ambitious plan which will aim to achieve a net zero carbon district.

Last week, the partnership held its inaugural meeting when 43 delegates representing a wide range of Richmondshire’s communities and businesses came together to celebrate the achievements of the district so far and map out how future changes can be made.

Deputy partnership chair Mike Sparrow said: “Taking steps to assure a healthier, cleaner and more sustainable place to live and work is important, not only for our own well-being, but as a legacy for our children and future generations.

“We are delighted to launch this new partnership which intends to be a powerful local enabler on that journey.

“It will embrace the wealth of enthusiasm, expertise and experience that we have in the community to help one another to accelerate step-change improvements in our environment and ecology, and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on the path to net-zero carbon.”

Richmondshire District Council declared a climate and environmental emergency in 2019 with an aim to makes its own activities carbon neutral by 2030 and reach out to the district to do the same.

One of those goals was to help set up this new partnership of which it is a member.

“Whilst the council is committed to reducing its own carbon footprint to net zero by 2030, this only represents a small fraction of the district’s total carbon emissions,” said Councillor Philip Wicks, chair of the council’s climate change working group.

“We need to work in partnership with others – residents, businesses and representatives from community groups, organisations and schools – to identify and deliver projects that will reduce emissions.

“The creation of the climate action partnership is part of our pledge to support and encourage activity that helps to achieve our ambition for a net zero carbon district.”

The launch meeting heard about the challenges the district faces such as dealing with its biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions – from transport.

Partnership members were told they need to find a way to reduce emissions 3.7 times as fast over the next ten years as has been done over the last 10 years if a net zero carbon district is to be achieved by 2030.

Members also heard from Mathilde and Amelie, two eco-team students from St Francis Xavier School in Richmond, who emphasised the urgency of addressing the causes of climate change and encouraged the partnership to act decisively.

They said: “We want you to know that the climate crisis is real, it is changing the world around us. It is a larger threat than covid – a serious problem which will take time to really impact on our daily lives.

“You might not see it in your lifetime but our children and their children will suffer if we don’t take bolder environmental action today.”

“Our planet is beautiful, it gives us life and we depend upon it. Please help us to protect it. Thank you.”

The partnership is keen to hear from anyone interested in joining, enthusiasm is essential with relevant skills and expertise a bonus – to find out more contact