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Leeds' Environmental Credentials Revealed In Sustainable City Report

Mixed Findings For Leeds As South Outperforms North On Environmental Sustainability


David Shirt, Press Officer | 0161 838 3094

A new economic report has revealed a growing north-south divide between UK cities when it comes to environmental sustainability - with Leeds being outperformed by locations in the South when it comes to lower CO2 emissions per person and zero-emission commuting.

According to UK Powerhouse, a report by Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economic & Business Research (Cebr), cities in the South have the strongest economies in terms of GVA* and dominate in a number of key indicators relating to sustainability. 

The report says Leeds tops the league table for job creation in Q1 2021 - the quarter when the transition period in the UK’s current Withdrawal Agreement is set to have ended.

There is however a mixed picture in terms of its environmental credentials. With regards to carbon dioxide per capita, the latest figures reveal that Leeds had reduced its year on year figure by 4.2% putting it in 40th place with a figure of 5.1 kt CO2 per person.

There were no locations in the North or the Midlands in the top 10 for the lowest CO2 per person.

Leeds appears 12th for the share of low emission transport** at 9%, however it fell to 21st place for share of population using zero emission transport***.  

The report looked at the areas with the highest number of solar panel installations. Leeds is 31st with 7,400 installations and a 2% share of the population. 

Out of all the English Powerhouse cities in the report, Leeds is ranked 20th for waste recycling. 

Paddy Sturman, partner at Irwin Mitchell and Head of Business Legal Services in Leeds, said: 

Expert Opinion
“This latest report paints a mixed picture for Leeds. It is expected to be the fastest growing city for employment growth in the first quarter of 2021, boosted by the city’s well-educated population providing a strong skills base.

“What is clear is that there is much more to do in terms of environmental sustainability and we acknowledge that we, along with the rest of the business community, have a big part to play in supporting this.”
Paddy Sturman, Partner

Methodology Note

All forecasts in this report utilise Cebr’s central scenario. Cebr’s central forecasts are based on the assumption that an amended version of the Brexit withdrawal agreement will form the basis of the future UK – EU relationship. We further assume that a transitional arrangement will be put in place that allows a continuation of the current relationship without any major disruptions until at least 2021. On the immigration policy, we rely on the lower immigration population estimates assuming that a visa system will be implemented for EU nationals, but that the requirements (e.g. the minimum salary, the NHS surcharge payment, the application fees, etc.) would be more relaxed than they currently are for non-EU nationals requiring a visa.

*Gross value added
**Low emission transport include travels by bus/coach, national rail and underground. 
***Zero emission transport includes travel by walking or cycling.