Core Cities monthly – Looking for leads in Leeds

A major northern city, with strong civic pride, a Labour-led Council, a league-winning football team… ah, wait, so we’re not talking about Manchester. No, today we want to do a shout-out for LEEDS… and for any volunteer researchers based there to get in touch. Our first Core Cities report, published in July, did not look at climate action in Yorkshire, as we had no team members based there. We are keen for these reports to include insights from those on the ground, who know the cities in question. And from where we sit across the Pennines, there are interesting developments afoot in God’s Own Country.

  • Climate Commission– At first glance, one thing that distinguishes Leeds from many of the other Core Cities is the Leeds Climate Commission. Founded in 2017, the Commission seeks to bring together organisations and members of the public from across the city and serve as an independent voice on the steps needed towards a low carbon, climate resilient future. But we don’t want to rely on website blurb for this initiative. Three years on, what works with the Commission, and what could be improved? How widely does it engage residents? And does the Council pay any attention to its reports?


  • Airport – Along with Manchester and Bristol, Leeds is bound up with an airport. Indeed, Leeds and Bradford airport currently wants to demolish its terminal and replace it with a new one (£150m… assuming it runs vaguely to budget). Scientists from the University of Leeds have been vocal, pointing out that this expansion would make it impossible for Leeds to make its net zero target of 2030.Consultation closed in July… did you contribute? What did you say?


  • Terrible towers – Like ‘Manctopia’, Leeds is no stranger to high-rise towers and relaxed planning decisions. One recent article described the city centre as a ‘depot of discarded fridges’. But what other dubious planning decisions are afoot? Is green space near you endangered? Who is moving into the shiny buildings, and the city more broadly? With HS3 (at some point) and increased home working options, will Leeds become the new destination of choice for a fresh cadre of London professionals, who have certain ‘political demands’ of the Council?

But this will not be all that matters to Leeds. Please tell us what is missing here and email if you’re up for helping out with Core Cities 2. You’ll join a band of researchers from across the country… and we’ll keep the Northern rivalry jibes to a minimum, promise…

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