CRAVEN District Council has hit back after it came bottom of a list of climate friendly councils in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Top of the list, published by Friends of the Earth, was Doncaster, with Craven given a rating of just 44 per cent, compared to 68 per cent for York and Leeds, and 64 per cent for Bradford.

The Green group assessed councils in different categories including renewable energy, public transport, lift-sharing, energy efficiency at home, waste recycling, and tree cover to find an overall winner.

But, the council, which in August declared a climate emergency, said the findings are flawed and out of date, that some of its recent environmentally friendly measures have not been taken into account, and that the group is blaming it for issues over which it has no control.

Councillor Carl Lis, lead member for Greener Craven, said: “It is unfortunate and disappointing that much of the Friends of the Earth research is out of date and the conclusions are flawed.

“In Craven, we have actually declared a climate emergency, but this research fails to acknowledge that.

“We are assessing all council land to identify areas for tree planting, and have just approved three sites where we will plant more than 7,000 trees. We’re working with the Northern Forest which aims to get 50 million trees planted in the north of England in the next 20 years.”

The council, he said, had also pledged to work towards a carbon neutral district by 2030. “We’re phasing out single use plastic across council operations, we’re replacing vehicles in our fleet with low emissions vehicles, and we’re planning to install electric vehicle charging points in council car parks,” he said.

“The Friends of the Earth report also appears to blame district councils for issues such as public transport over which we have little control.

“However, our £5 million Skipton Employment and Housing Growth project includes improving pedestrian routes from Skipton Railway Station to key destinations around the town, creating more sustainable transport links.”

Cllr Lis added:“We are also looking at plans to install green energy technologies across the Craven District Council estate, using biomass, air and ground source heat pumps for heating and solar panels for energy production.”

Friends of the Earth says local authorities have an important and often over-looked role in cutting carbon emissions and solving the climate crisis, but that most are doing far too little.

It says even the better performing authorities can do much more, such as eco-heating to e-bikes, from transport to tree planting.

The group says one of the reasons Craven scored poorly was because it has only 13 megawatts of renewable energy available, and if the area matched the best of similar local council areas it would have 320 megawatts.

Simon Bowens, Friends of the Earth regional campaigner for Yorkshire and the Humber, said:“The bottom line is that we have to act in line with the needed ambition because it’s our responsibility to hand on a better environment to the next generation.

“All local authorities need to ramp up what they are doing. We know we are facing a climate and ecological emergency that threatens our existence and the natural world. If we want to change things for the better, then home is a good place to start.

“Creating cleaner and greener places to live means healthier, happier lives. It’s why local authorities in our region need to adopt ambitious local climate action plans, with help from communities. And national government needs to ramp up the pace of change and support local authorities to take action.”