“WHY not invest some of your savings in your own town, to play your part in tackling climate change?”

That was one of Professor Andy Gouldson’s suggestions when he spoke at the inaugural public meeting of Climate Action Ilkley on December 5.

There was standing room only in the large hall at the Clarke Foley Centre for Prof Gouldson, who is the founder and chairman of Leeds Climate Commission as well as being Professor of Environmental Policy at Leeds University.

He highlighted the most carbon effective investments which could be made, which were also the most cost-effective.

They included cavity wall and floor insulation, more efficient cooling in commercial buildings, more efficient boilers and heating controls. Some towns have set up community energy companies to finance these improvements - citizens invest in the company which gives grants to residents and/or community buildings in return for a proportion of the cost savings.

He suggested that Ilkley residents could, for example, divert some of their ISA savings into such a fund and achieve an equivalent return.

He cited the example of Kirklees Warm Zone in which 51,000 homes were retrofitted with insulation: the cost was £21 million but resulted in savings of 6.2 million a year paying back the initial investment in 3.4years and generating 240 jobs. It reduced household carbon emissions by 12 per cent.

Prof Gouldson dealt with a large number of questions from the audience ranging from building standards, through transport to food waste, all of which he said offered opportunities to help meet the UK targets for the reduction of carbon emissions. Councillors Mark Stidworthy and Brian Mann also answered questions.

After the talk George Abramson, chairman of Climate Action Ilkley, said: “I am delighted that this talk was so well supported and we look forward to inviting everyone in Ilkley to become members of Climate Action Ilkley.

“This talk has given us clear examples of the kinds of actions our community can take together to tackle climate change and these actions also make economic sense.

“We have to act now, we know what to do for the sake of the future generation let’s get going.”

For more information about the newly formed community campaign group Climate Action Ilkley visit: climateactionilkley.org