Climate change

Action today for our tomorrow

We declared a climate emergency in May 2019 because the impacts of climate change on our health, wellbeing and economy are being felt locally as well as worldwide.

The carbon emissions from human activities such as consumption of material things, travel, industry, electricity generation, agriculture, and heating and powering our homes are causing an overall warming of our planet and knock-on extreme weather events, bringing with it devastating impacts.

We've seen flooding locally as well as the devastating fires, crop failures, and flooding across the world.

Wakefield Council's carbon footprint was equivalent to 35,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2018 that's enough gas to fill 5 Wembley stadiums every year.

This comes from things like the gas we use to heat our buildings, electricity used for lighting and equipment and emissions from the vehicles used to collect waste, grit the roads, and carry out other essential services.

Since 2018 we've reduced our emissions by 15,000 tonnes per year by more efficient heating systems and installing LED lighting in buildings. 

Waste which we collect is recycled and we use the residual waste to generate energy at Ferrybridge Powers Station, saving over 18,000 tonnes of CO2. 

We have also planted over 16,000 trees in the district which all helps to tackle climate change.  But there's much more still to do….

Our 2030 carbon neutral pledge

We have pledged to become a carbon neutral organisation by 2030, for those emissions that are under our direct control. This means having a net zero carbon footprint, and we aim to help the entire district achieve this goal too, within the same timeframe - if possible - but by 2038 at the latest.

Our climate change action plan (CCAP) was approved by cabinet in September and can be downloaded from this webpage. The plan is comprised of 6 workstreams, the first 5 of which address organisational emissions, with the 6th being dedicated solely to district level work. The workstreams cover the following core areas: low carbon estate, low carbon fleet, renewable energy, carbon offsetting, behavioural change and influencing, and place. The programme of work that supports these workstreams forms the basis for the future delivery of our net zero aspirations.

To support with our efforts, the council now has a leadership structure and organisational hierarchy that recognises the importance of climate change, which is also underpinned by a skilled programme delivery team. With a suite of suitable policies, procedures, and strategies in place, there is a corporate-wide commitment to embed climate change-centric thinking into everything the council does going forward, both organisationally and within the district.

We believe that this plan provides a solid foundation for sustained and rapid carbon emissions reductions, and that this will enable the council to demonstrate its full commitment to both the climate emergency and to delivering against its net zero promises. 

Some of things we’ll be seeking to deliver include the following:

  • Reducing our demand for heat and power through simple changes of behaviour and practice.
  • Improving energy efficiency and installing low energy lighting in our buildings.
  • Investing over £21m in low energy LED street lighting.
  • Replacing fossil fuel fed boilers, and heating and cooling systems, with low carbon alternatives.
  • Replacing conventional diesel and petrol vehicles with low and zero emission alternative vehicles where possible.
  • Developing major schemes including renewable energy parks and solar panels on our buildings and land, and developing decarbonised local district heating schemes.
  • Planting more trees to offset any residual CO2 emissions that we cannot completely eliminate.

We have started our journey to be net zero by 2030, but we will also work with our residents and businesses, and other key partners, to tackle greenhouse gas emissions across the district. The challenge is significant, in 2017 over 1.9 million tonnes of greenhouse gases were emitted from transport, industry and homes – and that’s enough to fill over 272 Wembley stadiums every year! However, we take our responsibilities very seriously and will work tirelessly to create a net zero future for our district. 

We can all play our part

A good first step is to find out what your own Carbon footprint is and the World Wildlife Fund web-site has a useful tool to help you calculate this:

Know your Carbon Footprint and then Reduce, Switch and Act to play your part in limiting climate change.


Understanding your energy consumption can help you understand how you are using energy and where you can start to be more energy efficient.  A Smart Meter can help you understand your energy use to help reduce energy consumption and save money:   For ideas to help make your home more energy efficient visit

Reducing the journeys made by car and using public transport, walking and cycling can all make a difference to reduce your Carbon footprint – find out more at

Walking is not only good for our planet, it’s great for physical and mental health.  Find out where you can enjoy the many green spaces and walking routes across the Wakefield district

As a society we have become increasingly dependent on convenience food, with increased food miles, packaging and food waste, all of which contributes to climate change. Taking simple steps to consider your food consumption habits can make a difference – for tips visit:


Switching to alternative and low emission transport can help to reduce Carbon emission.  We are developing a network of rapid chargers to support people to move to electric vehicles – find out where they are and how to use them at For more information about electric cars visit the Go Ultra Low web-site: 

You can also consider alternative low Carbon technology to heat and provide energy to your home, such as solar panels and heat pumps, which may also be eligible for payments under the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme: 


The time to act is now and steps taken by us all, both large and small, will make a difference for a cleaner, greener tomorrow.  This year we’ve worked with the Woodland Trust, community groups and volunteers and have planted over 16,000 trees this year to help offset carbon emissions.  

Help us:

Get Involved

Want to know more about getting involved on how to tackle the climate emergency please get in touch with us at


We conducted a public consultation giving residents, businesses, and schools the opportunity to share with us their thoughts on what our priorities should be when it comes to tackling the effects of climate change and reducing our collective carbon emissions within the district. A report on our findings will be published shortly.

For those participants in the surveys who offered personal data by way of explicit consent, the privacy notice setting out the usages, future retention, and general parameters of that recorded data can be found here.

Follow us on social media
Twitter - @ClimateWakey 

Contact us

Environmental Health

Wakefield Council
Wakefield One
PO Box 700
Burton Street

0345 8 506 506