Councillor #AndrewCooper leader of #Greens in #Kirklees Council – speaking at Crouch End meeting on 9 February 

Listening to Andrew Cooper highlighted what can be done by a handful of committed decarbonising politicians in a hung council – unfortunately Councils around Archway are not in this situation.

Andrew Cooper is the driving force behind a series of major energy saving/carbon emission reduction projects undertaken over nearly 20 years in the Kirklees area of Yorkshire which have led Kirklees to be one of the UK’s leading local authorities in the field of carbon reduction and climate change combat.

Andrew became a Green Councillor in the late 1990s, when the Greens were the balancing group in hung Council administrations in Kirklees. Being committed to energy saving they cast around for ways to get energy saved for the people of the area and worked out that they could save £50k from a Labour government National Insurance change and divert it into a local renewable energy fund. The Council agreed to this. This fund levered lots of additional grants for local projects, including from the EU. The local renewable industry geared up as a result. Thousands of solar panels were put up. You can watch Andrew on You tube here:

and here:

The Council sold shares in Leeds Bradford Airport and spent the money on free insulation for everyone. Saved £3 million from everyone’s energy bills, which was spent on other things in the local community. Amongst other projects they also had a revolving fund for LEDs in local schools.

Sadly, there is no more money around for this sort of thing.

Kirklees is doing its best to oppose fracking. The Greens have pushed through an amendment to the local plan asking fracking companies to demonstrate how their application will have net zero impact on climate change, which they will not be able to achieve. This will be Kirklees’ stated policy.

2016 was when the nationwide zero carbon homes standard was meant to be introduced. Chancellor Osborne cancelled this as he said it was an undue pressure on the building industry, and chucked out 9 years of working towards this standard. In Kirklees, they have a local plan for 29000 new homes. They are going to specify passiv haus standards. 90% of energy costs will be saved by the occupants who can then spend this money in the local economy.

Andrew is a member of the EU committee of the regions. There are nationally determined carbon contributions. Why are there not regional and local contributions? He Is proposing this idea to the Committee of the Regions and taking it into the EU.

US/Trump . Can go round the Trump climate policy by contacting the US sister body the Commission of Mayors and is getting in touch with them via the Committee of the EU regions. This will continue after Brexit.

Andrew Cooper was an inspiration to us all in trying to encourage our own local authorities to reduce fossil fuel emissions and at the same time make people’s lives better.

For more information please see Andrew’s blog here:

Councillor Andrew Cooper addressing packed and enthusiastic audience

Councillor Andrew Cooper addressing packed and enthusiastic audience