BRADFORD Council has become the largest local authority in the country to vote to adopt tougher measures to tackle climate change.

But some Councillors warned that any effort to make the district a more environmentally friendly would need to make sure they do not disadvantage the poorest people in Bradford.

The two Green Councillors on Bradford Council put forward a motion to Tuesday’s full Council meeting, calling for the authority to declare a “climate emergency.”

Similar motions were brought by Green Councillors across the country, but if Bradford approved the motion it would become the largest Council in the UK to do so.

The motion said; “The Council acknowledges that we must show more ambitious civic leadership in response to the challenges of global warming and climate change, specifically in relation to reducing our own greenhouse gas emissions, and encouraging and enabling our community and private organisations based in Bradford District to do likewise.”

Cllr Kevin Warnes (Green, Shipley) praised the good work already done in Bradford to reduce Carbon emissions, but said: “We have done the easy work. All the low hanging fruit is gone. We have to get our ladders out and raise our game.”

The Labour group put forward an amendment to the motion, removing some of the more radical calls, but calling for a report into the issue, requesting additional government funding to implement green measures and adopting “challenging” ambitions to reduce pollution.

Councillor Mike Ellis (Cons, Bingley Rural) said: “Often the poorest people pay the greatest price when it comes to issues like this. For the people who can afford things like solar power it is fine, but poorer people might have to bear the brunt. They will have to pay to drive into clean air zones. I hope the Council takes note of that.”

Councillor Simon Cooke (Cons, Bingley Rural) said he welcomed the “more considered approach” put forward in the Labour amendment. He said he was confident much was being done to tackle climate change, adding: “I think most of the heavy lifting is being done by people who understand how these things work and know much more than most of the people in this room. I believe as a city we can work to meet our targets, but let’s not go running round like headless chickens saying it is an emergency.”

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, leader of the Council, said: “We believe in actions, not words. We have reached our carbon target, but now we need to go further and faster. We also need to reduce energy bills for our residents. Some of these ideas will create jobs.”

She referred to a number of Council projects to cut emissions, like a city centre heating system and the replacement of street lights with LED lights.

After the amended motion was passed, Cllr Warnes said: “This is a welcome step forward in our efforts to do our part in tackling climate change here in Bradford.

“It is absolutely vital that local authorities like Bradford adopt more ambitious targets if we have any hope of getting to grips with the climate emergency we find ourselves in.

“People of all political persuasions need to work together if we want to prevent the consequences of catastrophic climate breakdown and we have seen a bit of that here tonight.”