• 20 May 2019

    Twin cities Leeds and Breda get one step closer

    • How to reduce the carbon footprint of events?
    • How to create space for nature and water in the city while still accommodating urban development?
    • How to mainstream and extend the production of renewable energy at an affordable cost?

    These are some of the common challenges shared by the cities of Leeds (UK) and Breda (The Netherlands) and discussed in the Covenant of Mayors twinning programme.



    One year after a first visit in Leeds in 2018, Councillor Al Garthwaite, responsible for climate and sustainable development, together with her collaborator Polly Cook, visited Breda on 16 and 17 May 2019.

    Breda presented their decarbonisation and climate-resilient vision:

    -Thanks to a big in-shore wind project starting in 2020, Breda will produce green electricity for 80,000 households among 4 municipalities, with public participation.

    -With the AirQON project (Urban Innovative Action), Breda tests the use of electric vehicles as power supply for events, instead of polluting diesel-powered generators.

    -Breda is converting its garbage trucks to hydrogen with the EU-funded REVIVE project.

    -27% of mobility in Breda is done by bike and the city aims to bring this number to 35-40%.

    -Breda has an ambitious nature policy and provides for everyone access to a green area at 200m walking distance and to a nature reserve at 15 minutes (3 km) cycling distance.

    This was food for thought and action in Leeds, which is no less ambitious when it comes to climate action. Since January 2019, the city implements a clean air zone of 90km2 for lorries, buses, taxies, coaches, and all business vehicles, and the city has the biggest electric vehicles fleet in the UK. Leeds also plans to develop freight via the city’s canals. Leeds has declared the climate emergency and works towards climate neutrality for 2030. In the next 6 months, the city will hold climate conversations with citizens and stakeholders.

    Both cities are now working on a twinning infographic report which will be ready by the summer.