The £4m financial package, agreed by Cabinet at a meeting on Tuesday (3 November), will fund a new three-year combined Climate and Ecological Emergency Programme.
It will see Bristol City Council continuing to lead the way with investment in reducing its carbon footprint and ecological impact even further – while also working to ensure everyone can play their part. The programme complements the council’s action on travel, housing, energy, nature and a host of other initiatives around the city that bring together many different groups and organisations.
It is designed to be an ambitious yet achievable response to the climate and ecological emergencies, which will help Bristol City Council deliver its aim to be carbon neutral for direct emissions by 2025, through its estates, capital projects and in training its staff. It will also help the council lead and support other organisations in the citywide effort to become a carbon neutral and resilient city by 2030.
The council has continued to make substantial reductions to its carbon footprint since the climate declaration, reducing it by a further 9% in one year from 2018/19 to 2019/20. This takes the total reductions in the council’s direct emissions since 2005 to 86%.
As well as focusing on ways for Bristol City Council to improve its own carbon impact, the programme also offers help for city partners and citizens through 20 new projects, including small grants for community led climate action.
As part of helping citizens to do their bit, the council is launching a new website, the Bristol Climate Hub, as an online resource for engaging and inspiring community action for our climate. It will launch on Friday 13 November and feature individually tailored suggestions to give individuals and businesses ideas on how they can contribute and make the biggest impact on their carbon footprint.
Mayor Marvin Rees said: “The funding of these projects is another important milestone in the huge ongoing effort of everyone in the city to do what we can to tackle climate change and our impact on nature. We are proud in Bristol to have led the way in highlighting what we can do to tackle both the climate and ecological crises at a community level. In doing so, we’re also supporting our recovery from Covid-19 and embedding a new way of life that means we can build back better together.
“It has been two years since we became the first council to announce a climate emergency and in that time significant progress has been made. But there is still so much more we all can and must do. Climate change action needs to be fair and inclusive. Bristol is embarking on a just transition to carbon neutrality so no one is left behind. We all need to come together and the One City collaborative approach can help us to achieve this and make Bristol a fair, healthy and sustainable city.”
For many years Bristol City Council has been a leading voice in the UK’s local authority-level response to the climate and ecological emergencies. Building on a successful track record it was the first council to declare a climate emergency and helped mobilise the whole sector through the Local Government Association. More than 16 Bristol organisations have since joined Bristol in declaring climate emergencies and committing to action.
In February 2020, the Mayor and city partners also declared an Ecological Emergency in recognition of the urgent need for nature recovery in the city and globally.
Cllr Afzal Shah, Cabinet Member for Climate, Ecology and Sustainable Growth, said: “As a council we are proud of the progress we’ve made so far, but we know how important individual actions are in tackling climate change and we also know how these combined actions can have a real impact. We all have a part to play in reducing Bristol’s carbon footprint and that's why I would urge everyone to visit the Climate Hub website and help us develop it further. We know a lot of Bristolians are already engaged and have helpful stories to share. Let’s use this online platform to support each other and make a difference to our environment.
“The effects of climate change are being felt here in Bristol and we need to act now. This could be in the form of flooding, rising food prices and increasingly uncomfortable temperatures. As a responsible authority it is only right the council does everything in its power to tackle the issue and offer every opportunity for citizens to play their part as well.”