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Sunday, May 29, 2022

How Bradford is tackling the climate emergency on World Ozone Day

Bradford is committed to reaching net zero on carbon emissions by 2038 but some activist groups think this date is too late.

Today marks the official International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, a day created by the United Nations (UN) in 1994.

The day marks the anniversary of the Montreal Protocol in 1987 which was signed by members of the UN to keep in check Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS).

The ozone layer is a fragile shield of gas that protects the Earth from the harmful portions of the rays of the sun, thus helping preserve life on the planet.

The ozone protects human health and ecosystems by limiting the harmful ultraviolet radiation from reaching the Earth. Products that used ODS include refrigeration systems, air-conditioning systems, heat pump systems, and fire protection equipment.

Old air conditioning equipment still contain ozone-depleting substances. Image by Carlos Lindner.

The phaseout of controlled uses of ozone-depleting substances and the related reductions have not only helped protect the ozone layer for this and future generations but have also contributed significantly to global efforts to address climate change.

Bradford Council passed a motion in January 2019 to declare a climate emergency and commit to a green economy. Since then, the council has committed to achieving a net-zero carbon across Bradford District by 2038 by cutting carbon emissions from energy, transport and services and removing carbon from the atmosphere using technology, tree planting and moorland restoration.  Although, some activists are pushing for a net-zero carbon economy by 2030.

The council is focusing on five priorities that they say will not only tackle climate change but help residents reduce their fuel bills and create jobs. These are:

  • Energy: reducing the amount of energy we use for heat and power and switching to low and zero-carbon sources.
  • Transport: low and zero-carbon transport, moving from fossil fuel to electric with more emphasis on public transport, walking and cycling.
  • Living well: taking steps to create a carbon-free environment where people can live healthy lives.
  • Food and stuff: by reducing, reusing and recycling the materials consumed we reduce both carbon and the impact on natural resources.
  • Working with nature: planning land use and systems to capture carbon, build resilience, provide resources and leave space for nature.

Earlier this year the council launched its Climate Change Emergency Fund which aims to help communities through initiatives that can reduce our collective carbon footprint and support sustainable development.

The climate change emergency fund will help communities across Bradford. Image by John Cameron.

The pot of £360,000 has been shared across the five areas for groups to apply for a grant of up to £5,000 for any climate action-related project.

According to Cllr Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Portfolio Holder for Healthy People and Places, 65 groups so far have received grants.

One green environment scheme that is being employed by the council is the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) which is due to come into effect in January 2022. A Clean Air Zone is a defined area where targeted action is taken to improve air quality.

Bradford, like many other local authorities in the UK, has been required by the government to produce an air quality plan to show how it plans to bring the levels of nitrogen dioxide within legal limits in the shortest possible time.

Air quality monitoring, evaluation and modelling studies have identified a CAZ is the most effective method of reducing nitrogen dioxide and improving air quality, as quickly as possible.

The Bradford zone will cover the area inside, and including, the Bradford outer ring road extending out along the Aire valley corridor, (Manningham Lane/Bradford Road and Canal Road area) to include Shipley and Saltaire.

The Clean Air Zone will push more people into buying electric cars. Image by Ernest Ojeh.

Implementing a daily charge for entering the zone, the Council will encourage affected vehicle owners to consider upgrading their vehicles to compliant standards.

Bradford Environmental Action Trust (BEAT) is a charity that is trying to increase the district’s environmental consciousness and reduce the impact of climate change in the region.

The trust was officially registered in 1999, with work on the Forest of Bradford, an initiative that aims to plant a million trees beginning a few months prior. The tree planting scheme was created to increased woodland cover throughout the district, creating a sustainable wooded landscape in both rural and urban areas.

The initiative was set up in partnership with local communities, businesses, and other organisations. Volunteers have been essential to its success, helping to plant thousands of native deciduous trees over more than two decades.

Forest of Bradford has almost reached its goal of planting one million trees.

Forest of Bradford is close to its goal, with 770,000 trees planted firmly in Bradford soil. Jacob Silver, an environmental officer at BEAT, says: “It is important now more than ever to think about and implement change when it comes to the climate crisis.  We need to start locally by making small changes.”

BEAT also runs a sustainable nappy project where expecting parents can request a free washable nappy kit worth £45 to help reduce the environmental impact of their baby’s diapers. Mr Silver said: “Using real nappies saves money for both parents and our communities. For every year a baby is in nappies, he or she will need nearly 2,000 nappy changes.

With potty training averaging at two and a half years, that is nearly 5,000 nappies per child. At an average cost of 16p per disposable, between them, parents in England and Wales are spending approximately half a billion pounds on disposable nappies every year.”

Organised by Bradford Global Justice Now and Friends of the Earth in Baildon and Shipley, there will be a Climate Emergency Walk tomorrow, with everyone with a concern about action on the environment is welcome to join in.

Bradford Global Justice Now wants to see an end to investment in fossil fuels by local pension funds, which will be “the greatest encouragement and support to switch from carbon-intensive transport and jobs, to healthy, productive and caring work, and international agreements that not only proclaim the need to avert global warming but agree on emergency measures will get us there.”

Bradford Council aims to make net-zero carbon emissions in Bradford possible by 2038, in line with Leeds and the councils under the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. However, this organisation is pushing for Bradford to be net zero in just over eight years’ time in 2030.

The Climate Emergency Walk on Friday leaves Baildon at 1.30pm, leaves Shipley Kirkgate Centre at 3.15pm, and arrives in Centenary Square after 5pm.

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