CRAVEN District Council has got to look ‘very seriously’ at its approach to climate change and consider each of its areas of operation, says its chief executive.

Paul Shevlin told a meeting of the council’s scrutinising Select Committee that progress was being made, and that he and the council’s dedicated officer , Rob Atkins, had met up with both Extinction Rebellion and Plastic Free Skipton to seek their thoughts and to work together.

He added they were now heading towards an action plan for Craven which would be brought back to council in February, next year.

Mr Shevlin also thought the council was not very good at telling people what it was doing - such as the proposed development of five new, carbon-efficient homes in Horton-in-Ribblesdale, which he hoped would be built next year, and he urged councillors to go back to their parishes and talk to them about what they could do.

Cllr Carl Lis, the council’s spokesman on Greener Craven, said starting from when the council declared a climate emergency in August, it was making progress, such as starting work on the upgrade of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, to provide a quality walking and cycling route, and the replacement of its vehicles with low- emission alternatives. The council was also reducing the amount of single use plastics across its sites, and was installing recycling bins in public places.

For the future, it would fit electric car charging points in its car parks, plant 7,000 trees at sites in Skipton, and promote the use of public transport, as part of its master plan for the redevelopment of Skipton Railway Station.

Cllr Andy Brown, Green Party member, said there were easy steps the council could take, such as turning the heating down on its Belle Vue Square offices, and reduce grass cutting. It could also strengthen up its planning policies with regard to the insulation of new houses and he installation of electric car charging points.

He also suggested that the council write to all supermarkets in the district, telling them of the steps it was taking, and asking them to do the same, and to lobby for change in areas it had no control over.

Councillors heard the council sold a million dog waste bags every year and was in the process of changing them from plastic ones imported from China, to bags made from corn starch, which were more expensive but broke down, and although the authority could not afford to replace waste collection vehicles with £750,000 electric models, its waste collection vehicles would have electric lifts, instead of the old hydraulic type.

It also needed to raise awareness amongst residents and increase its current recycling from 43 per cent.