The North East Combined Authority (NECA) has formally declared a climate emergency.
The declaration was made after a motion was agreed at the combined authority’s Leadership Board meeting today (Tuesday, 5 November).
Each of NECA’s four Constituent Authorities – Durham, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland – has already declared a climate emergency and committed to ambitious targets to cut carbon emissions by 2030.
NECA has pledged to identify the additional powers and resources needed from government to support the shift towards net zero carbon, as well as maximising funding opportunities.
Councillor Iain Malcolm, Chair of NECA and Leader of South Tyneside Council, said: “This declaration underlines how seriously we are taking the issue of climate change and our collective commitment to a net zero carbon future.
“We have a moral responsibility to meet these challenges head-on and it is vital that we work together for our mutual benefit.
“There is already a vast amount of work, innovation and investment taking place across the NECA area to create a greener, more sustainable future for our residents.”
Councillor Simon Henig, Leader of Durham County Council and Thematic Lead for NECA’s Finance and Skills & Employability portfolio, said: “NECA can support all four authorities’ efforts to meet their carbon reduction targets by providing a strong leadership and lobbying role with government.”
The Board agreed to establish a working group to identify which additional powers and resources are needed from government to enable the shift towards carbon neutral.
It also pledged to prioritise carbon reduction measures that will have the most impact whilst bringing additional benefits such as environmental improvements and economic growth.
Councillor Graeme Miller, Chair of NECA’s Economic Development and Digital Advisory Board and Leader of Sunderland City Council added: “It’s crucial that our drive towards a net zero carbon future dovetails with our economic aspirations for the NECA region.
“Our low carbon capabilities are growing and reinforcing the area’s credentials as a home for low carbon businesses, as well as manufacturing and digital.”
Councillor Martin Gannon, Chair of the Joint Transport Committee and Leader of Gateshead Council, further added: “There is no denying that the scale of our challenge is huge but the potential environmental, social and economic rewards are even bigger, resulting in lower energy bills, cleaner air and better health for our residents.”