THE head of an influential local climate committee has branded government plans to reduce carbon emissions “totally meaningless”

Coun Neil Walshaw, who chairs Leeds City Council’s Climate Emergency Committee, claimed targets to make all homes zero-carbon by 2050 was “far enough away so that current politicians wouldn’t have to deal with it”.

The comments were made during a meeting of the council’s development plans panel, during which it was heard new government blueprints to change the planning system in England would not require homes to be carbon neutral until 2050.

This is despite a commitment from Leeds City Council to become a carbon neutral city by 2030.

Coun Walshaw (Lab) said: “A zero-carbon date of 2050 for the country as a whole is utterly meaningless.

“It’s a figure plucked because it’s mid-century, I suspect, and it’s far enough away so that the current crop of politicians and senior civil servants won’t have to deal substantively with it.

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“There is no scientific basis for going zero-carbon by 2050 – 2030 is where we need to be aiming at, and that implies serious changes for our society.”

According to early draft of a proposed new law, known as a “white paper” the government wants to “facilitate ambitious improvements in the energy efficiency standards for buildings to help deliver our world-leading commitment to net-zero by 2050”.

Responding to this in a report, Leeds City Council officers stated: “As Leeds is committed to net zero carbon by 2030 it may be considered a missed opportunity that the Government is continuing to set 2050 as its target.

“Consideration may be given to whether standardised national policies for this 2050 aspiration will go far enough to meet Leeds’ climate emergency ambitions.”

Coun Walshaw added: “2050 is totally meaningless. The lack of commitment from the government is what happens when government is too close to developers and the worst end of the development sector.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will turn 86 in 2050, while housing secretary Robert Jenrick will turn 68.