Dr Cat Scott

Policy Leader – Policy Leeds

I'm a NERC (Natural Environment Research Council) Independent Research Fellow and University Academic Fellow in Biosphere-Climate Interactions in the School of Earth and Environment

The overall aim of my research is to understand the extent to which changes to land-use can help mitigate climate change and meet the targets set in the Paris Agreement on Climate

I'm also Director of the Leeds Ecosystem, Atmosphere and Forest (LEAF) Centre. LEAF aims to bring together anyone working on forests or other vegetation related research from across the University and make this research more accessible its end-users. LEAF also works with external partners such as charities, local authorities and media organisations on collaborative projects.  

I lead a long-term collaboration, Leeds4Trees, between the University of Leeds, UBoC (United Bank of Carbon) and Leeds City Council. As part of this collaboration we’ve explored the extent of tree canopy cover in the region and the benefits being provided by the city’s trees. Our work has directly informed White Rose Forest Strategy for Leeds and underpins the Council’s ambition to double tree canopy cover across the city by 2050. Leeds4Trees was highlighted in the ‘Unlocking the Potential of Civic Collaboration' review conducted by Leeds Social Sciences Institute.  

We're now broadening to work in partnership with local authorities across the White Rose Forest region which spans West and North Yorkshire. Our team are producing estimates that will help local authorities understand the extent to which new woodland creation in their region could capture carbon and contribute to their net-zero ambitions. To do this we're combining scientific data on tree growth rates from Forest Research, with the UK’s Woodland Carbon Code. We’re also exploring the amount of carbon being stored and taken up by trees outside woodlands, for example in urban areas. 

During 2018/2019 I undertook a secondment to UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), for two days each week, working in the Science and Innovation for Climate and Energy (SICE) Directorate.

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