EU Boost for Bristol Climate Action

EU Boost for Bristol Climate Action

Bristol is to be a climate emergency trailblazer for other European cities to follow as part of a new European Commission initiative.

28 April 2022.

Chosen from 377 cities, alongside only one other UK city, the 100 Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities (the ‘Cities Mission’) will help Bristol to accelerate progress to its goal to be carbon neutral. Furthermore the city will become an innovation hub to enable all European cities to follow suit by 2050. 
Bristol and Glasgow are the only two UK cities chosen to join the initiative, and will be able to bid for millions of pounds of funding to support climate and smart cities innovation.

Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, said: “The success of the city in being accepted into this programme reflects both the ambition of the city on climate change but also its track-record of innovative action. Cities play such a significant role in tackling the climate emergency and often share the same challenges. New technologies and ways of doing things will be critical to rapidly reducing the city’s emissions. The opportunity to share innovation and research with cities across Europe will be a huge boost in Bristol’s climate ambitions of becoming climate neutral by 2030”. 

The Co-Chairs of the independent Bristol Advisory Committee on Climate Change, Jo House and James Longhurst, said: “Innovation and collaboration are essential for Bristol to be able to achieve its climate goals. This programme will help the city to work with researchers and innovators, from Bristol and across Europe, to find solutions which will enable us to accelerate progress. We look forward to working with the council and city partners to help define the challenges the city is facing and where innovation and research will be most effective.” 

Professor Phil Taylor, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at the University of Bristol said: “The University of Bristol’s Cabot Institute brings together a diverse community of experts, united by a common cause: protecting our environment and identifying ways of living better with our changing planet. We look forward to working with Bristol City Council and Partners to bring the innovation of our engineers, social scientists, climate scientists, low-carbon energy specialists and more to help Bristol become a carbon neutral city.” 

Bristol City Council will be able to bid for the available funding from the €360 million made available to the Cities Mission by the European Commission for a wide range of subjects such as urban planning and design for climate-neutral cities, sustainable urban mobility and renewable energy later in the year, and many more over the coming years. Bristol will also have the opportunity to be part of a network of other cities facing the same challenges and learn through collaboration and knowledge sharing.  

This funding and support is part of the wider UK government ambition to be associated to the Horizon Europe funding programme which provides collaborative funding opportunities for cities and research organisations and is worth €95 billion between 2021 and 2027.  

Bristol will receive tailor-made advice and assistance from the Mission Platform (managed by the NetZeroCities consortium), additional funding and financing opportunities for innovation, pilot projects and demonstrations (total budget from Horizon Europe for 2021-2023 is €360 million), and learning and exchange of experiences among cities.

What has Bristol achieved so far?

Bristol was the first city to declare a climate emergency in November 2018. Since then, the council has accelerated its response to climate change and has planned and invested widely in actions across Bristol, for example: 

  • Invested millions on retrofitting council homes to reduce tenants’ carbon footprints and energy bills and has committed £80 million over the next few years to undertake more ambitious retrofits of homes. 
  • Worked with local community energy projects, including through grants of £250,000 and supported the development of England’s largest onshore wind turbine in Lawrence Weston 
  • Invested over £60 million on other low-carbon projects, which have helped cut the council’s and city’s energy bills and is creating the City Leap Energy Partnership which will bring in at least £400 million of private sector investment in the next 5 years. 
  • Installed the UK’s largest water source heat pump (drawing heat from Bristol Harbour) to provide zero-carbon heat, and recycling Bristol’s hot shower water to heat homes in an example of the innovation we hope to expand through the Mission. 
  • Achieved Gold Sustainable Food City status  for our work to reduce the environmental footprint of our food – only the second UK city to achieve this. 

Future actions already in the process of being delivered include: 

  • Secured a City Leap Energy Partnership to bring over £1 billion of investment into the city for renewable energy and energy efficiency 
  • Further transport improvements to key bus routes 
  • Increasing segregated priority routes for pedestrians, cyclists and buses  
  • Installing more EV charging points 
  • Stronger sustainability policies for new development. 
  • Small grants for communities to tackle climate and ecological issues in their communities 
  • Completing a programme to change all our streetlighting to low energy use bulbs 

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