Leeds Citizens’ Jury on climate change recommends NOT expanding Leeds Bradford airport
Leeds recently held a “Climate Change Citizens’ Jury” on climate change, with 21 “jurors”. It was put together by the Leeds Climate Commission, with jurors selected through a process to make it representative of a “mini-public” of Leeds, with varying different views. The Jury was tasked with examining the Leeds’ response to the emergency of climate change and with producing recommendations that will be used to guide the future work of the Commission and a range of organisations across Leeds. The jury started in September, and ran for a total of 30 hours over 9 sessions, ending in early November. The findings, in the form of recommendations written by the jurors, have been presented at a launch event on 25 November 2019 and will be presented formally to Leeds City Council’s Climate Emergency Advisory Committee in January 2019, which can make formal recommendations to Leeds City Council’s executive board. One of the recommendations was that Leeds Bradford Airport should not be expanded, with a vote for that by 86% of the jury. They said residents should be informed about the impact of expansion on carbon emissions, and flying should be discouraged, for example by higher taxation through the Frequent Flyer tax.
The relevant recommendation:
‘We must lead revolution on the environment,’ says Leeds citizens’ jury
By Geraldine Scott (Yorkshire Post)
Tuesday 26 November 2019
Leeds has to be at the front of the environmental revolution, a citizens’ jury has demanded, as they said drastic measures must be taken to avert a climate crisis.
Taking buses back into public ownership, retrofitting houses to bring them up to eco-standards, and scrapping the controversial expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport are just three of the suggestions from a panel made up from a cross-section of Leeds, tasked to map the way forward in the city’s effort to tackle climate change.
Professor Andy Gouldson. Photo: Leeds Climate Commission
The jury concluded: “Leeds led the world in the industrial revolution – we believe the city can now lead an environmental revolution.”
The Leeds citizens’ jury. Photo: Leeds Climate Commission
The 21-strong jury, put together by the Leeds Climate Commission, was selected through a process to make it representative of a “mini-public” of Leeds, with varying different views.
Commission Chairman Professor Andy Gouldson said there were six among the number who initially said they were not concerned about climate change at all, however a majority had since changed their views.
He said: “There are more and more people more concerned [about climate change], so we wanted to hear from normal people. It’s fair to say there were some skeptics and that’s exactly what we wanted to see.”
The jurors’ top priority – agreed unanimously – was transport, with the demand that bus provision be brought under public control. They wanted to take “extensive positive action […] to make the use of private cars a last resort for transportation”.
Plus 86% of the jury decided it was wrong to expand Leeds Bradford Airport.
Jurors said: “Residents should block expansion and be educated about the impact on the carbon footprint.”
And they urged Leeds City Council to block any new road-building or selling of land to develop.
The airport plans to double passenger numbers to eight million by 2030, and works will include a £100m access road to the airport.
Education in schools, exploring funding options, and more devolved powers to help the region take on the climate emergency were also recommended.
Prof Gouldson added: “Although the jury is a small sample of the public of Leeds, it is a representative sample, and the results can be relied upon to give crucial insights into the way that people in Leeds think about climate change and what we should do about it.
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“As an independent voice in the city, the Leeds Climate Commission has agreed that its activities will be guided by these recommendations in the years to come, and Leeds City Council has agreed to formally respond to the recommendations.
“Some of the recommendations are undoubtedly challenging – but responding to climate change is a massive challenge, and our response has to be actively guided by the people of the city.”
Prof Gouldson said at the beginning six people had said they were very concerned about the environment, six had said they were not concerned about climate change.
But by the end, after 30 hours of deliberation, one juror said: “From the start – I hadn’t realised how serious the problem was.”
Another said: “My opinion grew and grew on the seriousness of the situation more and more until now I am very annoyed.”
A statement from the jury said: “Climate change is not someone else’s problem. It won’t go away or get better if we ignore it. We are facing a climate change emergency – immediate and urgent action is required.
“Everyone – from Leeds City Council, individuals, politicians, businesses, community groups, and other organisations – has their part to play.
“Every action counts.
“We are a diverse group, unified in our passion to resolve this issue. We have had the opportunity to challenge our own and each other’s preconceptions. We have concluded that we are at a crisis point.
“We believe our recommendations can make Leeds a better place to live as well as addressing climate change.
“We don’t have all the answers but we hope that our recommendations will go some way towards tackling the problem.
“Leeds led the world in the industrial revolution – we believe the city can now lead an environmental revolution.”
I: We recommend stopping Leeds Bradford airport expansion – it is not compatible with zero carbon targets.
To make this recommendation happen:
• Leeds City Council should not approve new road building or selling land to develop.
• Residents should block expansion and be educated about the impact on the carbon footprint.
18 out of the 21 citizens Jury members (86%) believe that it is the wrong decision to expand Leeds Bradford airport (two abstained).
We also believe flying must be discouraged by for example:
• a frequent-flyer tax (based on income and number of flights and location i.e. domestic.)
• Advertising holidays in the UK rather than abroad.
The Leeds Climate Commission website at
LEEDS CLIMATE CHANGE CITIZENS’ JURY
The Leeds Climate Change Citizens’ Jury was put together by Leeds Climate Commission working with Shared Future CIC. It was tasked with examining the Leeds’ response to the emergency of climate change and with producing recommendations that will be used to guide the future work of the Commission and a range of organisations across the city.
The findings, in the form of recommendations written by the jurors, were presented at a launch event on Monday 25 November 2019 at The Tetley, Leeds. The jurors’ recommendations will be presented formally to Leeds City Council’s Climate Emergency Advisory Committee in January 2019, which can make formal recommendations to Leeds City Council’s executive board.
The citizens’ jury commenced on 12 September 2019 and ran for a total of 30 hours over nine sessions, ending on 3 November.
An oversight panel was set up to ensure the process is unbiased and fair. It includes representatives from Extinction Rebellion, Friends of the Earth, Leeds Chamber of Commerce, Leeds City Council, The Madina Town Movement, Our Future Leeds, Project Rome, Racial Justice Network, University of Leeds, Yorkshire Water and Youth Strike for Climate.
The panel made decisions about the recruitment process and the jury profile; it also selected expert commentators- 22 in total – who gave presentations to the jury and answered questions from them.
Professional facilitators Peter Bryant and Jenny Willis from Shared Future, which has run previous Citizens’ Juries across the UK, supported the jurors throughout the process.
Jurors are being asked to consider the question: “What should Leeds do about the emergency of climate change?” They produced a list of 12 recommendations, covering transport, housing, communications, finance, green spaces, aviation, a proposal for a Leeds Green New Deal, plastics, recycling and political co-operation (see page below).
Leeds City Council declared a climate emergency on 27 March 2019, along with a commitment to work to make Leeds carbon neutral by 2030. The Citizens’ Jury was part of the response to this and was financed by Leeds Climate Commission, an independent advisory group with members from key organisations and businesses in Leeds that are working together to help Leeds take action on climate change.
Find out more about the recruitment process, the sessions and check out our Frequently Asked Questions in the pages below.
The final report on the process, describing how it was run and containing the jurors’ recommendations, their guiding statement and requirements for progress reports, is available to download below, along with a summary of their recommendations.