A sustainable district

Our ambition

Effective climate action presents challenges but also offers opportunities to generate sustainable, clean and fair economic growth, and improve health and wellbeing and environmental quality. We want the Bradford District to be at the forefront in taking advantage of these opportunities.

We acknowledge we need to reduce our carbon emissions to tackle the climate emergency. This will require urgent and significant steps to limit our collective impact on the climate and ensure our residents, businesses and public sector partners can adapt to the challenges of the future.

We want to lead by example and become one of the best councils in the country for our record on reducing carbon emissions and become known for our proactive management on biodiversity, water management. We will make it easier for individuals, households and businesses to adapt, change and innovate to address the challenges presented by climate change.

We will develop a Single Use Plastics Policy and implementation plan to help the Council become a single use plastic-free organisation by 2024.

Our context

Bradford Council declared a Climate Emergency in 2019 and we are members of the Leeds City Region Climate Coalition. We are also investing in a number of capital and community based projects – for example, through a capital programme to invest in energy efficient street lighting and in reducing the environmental footprint of our own buildings.

The Bradford District currently has relatively low levels of CO2 emissions but still need to do more in order to ensure we are sustainable in the medium to long term. In 2018, the last year where we have data, the district’s emissions were 3.8 tonnes per head, compared to 6.5 tonnes for Yorkshire and Humber, and a UK average of 5.2 tonnes.

The district is home to around 10,000 environmental sector jobs and exemplar businesses including Texfelt, a manufacturer using recycled fibres and plastics, Yorkshire Water and the pioneering Ecology Building Society.

We have a strong research base in the district. The University of Bradford is a global leader in the circular economy and has a centre for sustainable environment which is tackling civil engineering climate challenges. The Bradford Institute for Health Research is researching health and wellbeing and undertaking national evaluation work on air quality improvements.

Our business and research strengths offer growth potential in areas including food and non-food crops, renewable energy, flood alleviation, soil management and carbon capture. Research suggests that clean growth could add £11 billion to the Leeds City Region economy and create an additional 100,000 jobs across our wider region.

Our priorities

Living with COVID-19

We will:

  • Encourage the use of digital technology to reduce carbon emissions, support business activities and maximise the environmental benefits of home and remote working.
  • Improve active travel infrastructure and help people move around the district for business or leisure safely, quickly and sustainably, even with reduced public transport capacity. Ensure that the public are informed about how they can access support on how they can move around the district safely using sustainable forms of transport.

Building a Better Future

We will:

  • Lead district partners to address the climate emergency through the Sustainable Development Partnership working at all levels from grassroots to large infrastructure projects.
  • Work with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and national government to make the case for sustainable transport development, including Northern Powerhouse Rail.
  • Improve green space with initiatives such as 'Tree for Every Child’ to plant more than 55,000 new trees, one for each primary school pupil.
  • Help businesses and households to be more sustainable and embrace the principles of the circular economy.
  • Improve air quality through our Breathe Better Bradford clean air plan.
  • Encourage more recycling by households and businesses and improve waste recycling rates.
  • Help households access funding to improve energy efficiency.
  • Support local food production and food security efforts.
  • Expand the network of electric vehicle charging points and number of electric vehicles.
  • Increase renewable energy usage and reduce greenhouse gas emission reduction in the Council’s business activities.
  • Reduce energy use and emissions from the Council fleet and street lighting.
  • Increase the efficiency of our buildings and operation and operational assets to reduce energy use and emissions.
  • Deliver an Advanced Fuel Centre to allow conversion of the Council’s vehicle fleet and support the Council’s Clean Air Strategy.
  • Identify risks from extreme weather events and work with local and national partners to strengthen infrastructure and buildings.
  • Bradford Council is committed to supporting Fairtrade as it supports sustainable farming and production methods whilst also ensuring that farmers and producers receive a fair price for their produce and goods. We will continue to buy Fairtrade goods and produce in line with our commitment, encourage our partners and businesses to do so and consider how we can support Fairtrade further across the District.

How we will measure success

  1. The Bradford Clean Air Plan will achieve compliance with UK limits by 2022 and maintain this performance in future years.
  2. Increase the percentage of household waste sent for reuse, recycling or composting and close the gap with the national average. 
  3. Reduce CO2 emissions from Council buildings below the 2019 level.

The underpinning plans and strategies that will enable us to deliver on this priority include: