A Citizens’ Jury has its first meeting tonight to discuss Leeds’ response to the climate emergency.

The jury of 25 has been put together by Leeds Climate Commission working with Shared Future CIC. It has been tasked with producing recommendations that will be used to guide the future work of the Commission and a range of organisations across the city.

The findings, in the form of a report written by the jurors, will also be presented to Leeds City Council’s Climate Emergency Advisory Committee, which can make formal recommendations to the council’s executive.

The jury was assembled using the Sortition Foundation, which sent 4000 letters to households across Leeds using random stratified sampling of addresses from the Royal Mail’s database. Responses were received from 129 people and the final 25 were selected based on a jury profile agreed by the Citizens’ Jury Oversight Panel.

The Oversight Panel, set up to ensure the process is unbiased and fair, includes representatives from Extinction Rebellion, Friends of the Earth, Leeds Chamber of Commerce, Leeds City Council, The Madina Town Movement, Our Future Leeds, Project Rome, Racial Justice Network, University of Leeds, Yorkshire Water and Youth Strike for Climate.

The panel also selects expert commentators, who will give presentations to the jury and answer questions from them. Professional facilitators from Shared Future, which has run previous Citizens’ Juries across the UK, will support the jurors throughout the process as they consider the question: “What should Leeds do about the emergency of climate change?”

Leeds City Council declared a climate emergency on 27 March, along with a commitment to work to make Leeds carbon neutral by 2030. The Citizens’ Jury is part of the response to this and is being held and financed by Leeds Climate Commission, an independent advisory group with members from key organisations and businesses in Leeds that are working together to help Leeds take action on climate change.

Andy Gouldson, Chair of Leeds Climate Commission, said:

“Responding to climate change may demand transformations across our city and it’s vital that all parts of the public shape these responses. The Citizens’ Jury gives us a unique chance to have an in-depth conversation with a representative sample of the public and to ensure that different peoples’ views are heard and fed into the process of responding to the climate emergency.”

Paul Chatterton, who is Professor of Urban Futures at the University of Leeds and a member of campaign group Our Future Leeds, has championed the Citizens’ Jury and is project managing the process. He said:

“We are delighted to bring a Citizens’ Jury on climate change to Leeds. It represents a strong partnership between the University, city council and the public. We are excited by the opportunity to have an in-depth discussion with an informed public who can come up with robust and lasting solutions that match the challenges and create a safe future for all of us.”

Councillor Barry Anderson, who attended the Oversight Panel representing the Leeds City Council’s Climate Emergency Advisory Committee, said:

“As a City Councillor it is important that we find out the views of a cross-section of the community so that informed decisions can be made by all partners in the city in addressing the Climate Emergency. I feel it is important that those residents who are participating as jurors need to have the confidence that no matter what they say it is valuable and could lead to a valuable piece of evidence.”

Robbie Strathdee from YouthStrike4Climate Leeds, said:

“I’m supportive of the citizen’s jury because it offers the opportunity to guide the climate action so desperately needed in the city. I hope that the jury will ensure emissions reductions in Leeds work for both people and planet, so that as a city we can lead the way in a fair transition to zero carbon.”

The jurors will remain anonymous throughout the process, but it is hoped to share the commentators’ presentations with the wider public to stimulate a city-wide debate. The first session commences on Thursday 12 September, followed by seven further evening sessions and concluding with a final full day session on 3 November.


Media contact:

Kathryn Lock, Communications and Policy Officer, Leeds Climate Commission

K.M.Lock@leeds.ac.uk  tel 0113 343 9914


Notes for editors:

  • Leeds Climate Commission was launched on 7 September 2017 by former Environment Secretary and Chair of the UK Committee on Climate Change, Lord Deben
  • 24 key businesses and organisations are represented on the Commission, which is a public-private-civic initiative that aims to climate action across Leeds by fostering collaboration on projects that result in a measurable contributions to the city’s climate reduction targets
  • The Leeds Climate Commission is chaired by Prof Andy Gouldson with Leeds City Council in the role of deputy chair (Cllr Lisa Mulherin, Executive Member for Climate Change, Transport and Sustainable Development).
  • Leeds Climate Commission is an independent voice in the city, providing authoritative advice on steps towards a low carbon, climate resilient future to inform policies and shape the actions of local stakeholders and decision makers. Read the 2018 annual report and view Prof Andy Gouldson’s presentation on the economic case for climate action in Leeds
  • Research by the University of Leeds shows that investment in profitable low carbon, climate resilient developments could result in annual savings of £272 million for Leeds, equivalent to £349 per person.
  • Leeds Climate Commission has produced a Carbon Roadmap for Leeds to show how the city can reach zero carbon
  • The Climate Commission has partnered with Leeds City Council to jointly hold the Big Leeds Climate Conversation
  • The Commission is part of the ESRC funded Place Based Climate Action Network (PCAN), which is driving climate action “on the ground” and setting up new climate commissions in the UK in Belfast and Edinburgh and supporting others to do the same.