York Climate Commission holds its first meeting

The first meeting of the York Climate Commission has taken on Monday 25 January. In the bid to bring together key partners across the city, the York Independent Climate Commission has been set up to create shared ownership and accountability of carbon reduction targets and benefit from the collective experience and expertise that exists within York.


The York Climate Commission’s founding members represent the key organisations from the public, private and civic sectors across the city who can contribute to the development and delivery of a low carbon and climate resilient economy and society in York. The first meeting saw representatives from City of York Council joined by senior partners from University of York, Nestle, Rollits, First Group and Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

The first meeting saw the commission members discuss projects that could be resourced and delivered within the next 12 months and deliver a measurable impact on the carbon emissions of the city.

York Climate Commission will help draw stakeholders together and build capacity to take and track action on the city’s journey to a carbon neutral future. This will include promoting leadership, shared priorities and opportunities for carbon reduction and climate resilience, providing independent advice, making the case for sustainable project development, implementation and investment in the city.

Cllr Paula Widdowson, Executive Member for Environment and Climate Change, commented:

“We realise that no individual organisation has the power, authority, resources or ability to achieve the city-level change needed to deliver our ambition of becoming a carbon neutral city by 2030. The independent York Climate Commission will be crucial in drawing key partners together to build capacities and take action which will directly impact our city’s future.

“This is another exciting step towards meeting our sustainability goals in the city. The work undertaken by the Commission will contribute to the already ongoing work to tackle the effects of climate change and build a more sustainable and green future for York.”

Paul Kissack, Group Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) and the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust (JRHT) said:

“Cities are ideally placed to drive many of the urgent actions needed to reduce carbon emissions. As a builder of new homes and communities in York, JRHT is committed to playing its full part in the coming years. We know that people value neighbourhoods with environmental sustainability at their core, and expect a stake in decisions about how to encourage more pro-environmental living. I am delighted to be joining this commission and hope that JRHT’s insights in balancing social, financial and environmental challenges will help the city’s vital work in this area.”


Matthias Ruth, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of York, commented:

"Climate change brings with it not just challenges that need to be urgently overcome, but also unique opportunities to generate profound improvements in quality of life and livelihoods. As the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of York, I look forward to connecting our cutting-edge research with the needs and interests of York, its businesses, civic organizations, citizens and visitors alike."


Andrew Digwood, President of the York & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce said:

“The Chamber recognises the vital importance of supporting our member businesses and our region to play a part in tackling the challenges of climate change. Many of our members are already investing heavily in innovations to do exactly that. We therefore welcome the opportunity to participate in the York Climate Commission alongside members and partners in the City of York to explore ways in which the city can strive to meet those climate challenges in a way that fosters a sustainable, successful and forward-looking environment for the city, its businesses and its people.”


Marc Bichtemann, Managing Director, First Bus York, commented:

“Through our investment and partnership with City of York Council, the city now boasts the biggest zero-emission Park & Ride fleet in the country. This presents a real breakthrough in the contribution bus travel will make to York’s low carbon targets in the years ahead and we’re delighted to be a founder of this group, sharing ideas and expertise to create a legacy of environmental improvement.”



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