Members of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority have vowed to take the organisation ‘well beyond’ net zero carbon, as they unanimously voted in favour of declaring a climate emergency.
Members noted that carbon dioxide emissions from the authority’s operations, such as visitor centres and offices, had been reduced by 62 per cent since 2005.
They agreed that a further report be brought to the next meeting of the full authority in December, which would set out a new organisational climate change objective.
The vote triggers a three-month process during which a plan of action will be drawn up.
The four main constituent district councils in the national park – South Lakeland, Eden, Craven and Richmondshire – have also formally declared a climate emergency.
Authority members stressed they were keen to work in partnership with the districts and the County Councils for maximum impact.
National Park Authority Chairman Carl Lis said: “It’s really pleasing that we’ve been able to report positively on what we’ve done so far get our house in order.
“Over the past decade we have switched from burning oil to renewable heating technologies at our buildings, and we have more than halved our electricity use.
“The authority became a net zero organisation some years ago because of the tree planting and peatland restoration that we’ve funded. But the big message of today is that we will not be resting on our laurels.
“Cutting carbon emissions generated in the national park, not just those generated by the authority, will quite simply be part of the day job.
“We’ve worked in the past on feasibility studies for hydroelectric schemes – and that area is something we could look to reinvigorate. We are lobbying hard for a new system of farm payments that will reward ‘high nature value’ farmers and those who work to slow the flow of rivers through woodland planting or other natural measures.
“And we’re very keen to work with other local authorities and businesses to achieve the ambitious objectives set out in the new Yorkshire Dales National Park Management Plan.
“We are all aware that the effects of climate change, such as prolonged unusually hot spells or more intense and frequent out-of-season storms, are impacting on the landscape and communities of the national park.
“There is a climate emergency. I look forward to putting together a new plan of action – before Christmas – to take us well beyond ‘net zero’.”