OTLEY has become the first town in Yorkshire to declare a Climate Emergency.

The Town Council has unanimously passed a resolution calling for urgent action and setting a 2030 target for becoming 'carbon neutral'.

Councillors heard on Monday that the threats facing the environment, as highlighted by several recent youth climate strikes, were severe and pressing.

Councillor Ray Georgeson (Lib Dem, Danefield), proposing the resolution, said it was time for us to 'all do more, and urgently'.

He said: "In considering and I hope approving this resolution, Otley Town Council will become the first town or parish council in Yorkshire - and only the eleventh in the UK so far - to declare a Climate Emergency and set a target for becoming carbon neutral.

"This is an emerging and important political process, now gathering momentum as a result of a growing realisation of the need for urgency and the growth in strength of the voice of young people, rightly condemning past generations for inaction.

"Locally, we have worked hard to improve our environment and reduce carbon emissions. I am proud of our local leadership on green issues and we are committed to maintain this. But...this is not enough."

He added: "This resolution is just a starting point. It must guide our future work, and it will do.

"This will cover everything from supporting more practical projects that reduce carbon emissions and improve the quality of life through to maintaining vigilance and pressure on all developers who come to Otley with feeble plans for the bare minimum when it comes to making their new builds (and refurbished properties) properly energy efficient, low-carbon and future proofed."

He also gave further details about a major scheme to make Otley a more cycling and walking friendly place, StreetVision2030* - formerly called CycleVision2030 - as an example of upcoming environmental projects.

Councillor Mick Bradley (Green, Danefield), seconding the Climate Emergency resolution, said it would provide a springboard for action - but also warned of the 'daunting' scale of the challenge ahead.

He said: "The challenge beyond tonight is to achieve what is a very ambitious target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.

"There are signs that things are happening locally: they are beginnings and we really need to build a momentum here if we're to make a difference.

"We're all in this together and need to address it together. This is a good, enabling resolution."

Councillor Colin Campbell (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) added: "Young people are saying to their parents and grandparents: look, you've made a right mess of this and we need you to sort it out.

"I do think the tide's turning and this is a positive step forward, it's important that we set ourselves a goal."

*The meeting heard that StreetVision2030, designed to transform the way local people make short journeys, may need about £2 million - spread over ten years - of funding but that the investment would generate more in benefits.

The project will seek inspiration from similar-sized towns on the continent that have already adapted to 'change the emphasis away from the car'.