Council action on climate change
Council action on climate change
How we play our part in achieving Bristol’s goal to be carbon neutral and climate resilient by 2030.
Carbon emissions come from burning fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal. This is causing climate change.
In 1999, we set a target to reduce our carbon emissions by 10% by 2010.
Between 2005 and 2021 we reduced our carbon emissions by 87%.
This includes the carbon generated by our:
- gas and electricity use
- vehicle use
- heating for buildings
We’ve recently set an ambition to be carbon neutral in our own operations (for gas, heating, electricity, vehicles) by 2025. And for all other emissions by 2030 (things that we buy, build and services we commission).
In November 2018 the city councillors and Mayor declared a Climate Emergency.
We have continued to lead this agenda by working in partnership with other organisations.
What the council is doing
The strategies that guide our climate action are the Mayor’s Climate Emergency Action Plan and the One City Climate Strategy.
Climate Emergency Action Plan
The Mayor’s Climate Emergency Action Plan provided funding to work with partners and stakeholders to develop a climate strategy for the city.
CO2 emission baseline report
The CO2 emission baseline report (pdf, 2.5MB) (opens new window) is the evidence base for the Mayor's Climate Emergency Action plan.
The baseline report sets out where the city’s emissions come from and how big they are. It also estimates what they will look like by 2030 if no action is taken beyond that already planned.
One City Climate Strategy
Bristol’s Environmental Sustainability Board came together to develop a climate strategy for the city. The result is the One City Climate Strategy released on 26 February 2020.
The One City Climate Strategy: A strategy for a carbon neutral, climate resilient Bristol by 2030 (PDF) is a city-wide, shared vision and not owned by any single organisation.
The strategy is comprehensive, addressing both the direct and indirect sources of the emissions that are responsible for climate change.
Research commissioned for the strategy and funded by the council as part of our contribution to the city-wide work includes:
- an assessment of Bristol’s resilience to climate change
- a pathway to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 for the city’s direct emissions
- the carbon footprint of the economy of Bristol
- a report on consumption-based greenhouse gas emissions for Bristol
An independent advisory committee, the Bristol Advisory Committee on Climate Change, reviewed the strategy and the research.
More information on the committee can be found on the One City website.
Bristol climate action
To tackle the climate emergency, we and the city have:
- developed ambitious strategies and plans to guide our climate action, called the One City Climate Strategy (PDF) and the Mayor’s Climate Emergency Action Plan
- put in place parallel plans for the ecological emergency, called the One City Ecological Emergency Strategy (PDF) and the Bristol City Council Ecological Emergency Action Plan (pdf, 1.2MB) (opens new window)
- created and launched the Bristol Climate Hub to share stories from citizens and groups who are already taking climate action, and to inspire others to get involved
We’ve invested £42 million on retrofitting council homes to reduce tenants’ carbon footprints and energy bills since 2005.
We’ve invested £12.8 million to improve cycle paths.
- 12 miles of cycle paths that are physically separated from traffic and pedestrians
- 49 miles of traffic-free cycle routes away from the roads
- a total of 112 miles of cycle routes
Heat decarbonisation and electricity
- started installing 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
- invested over £60 million on other low-carbon projects, which have helped cut the council’s and city’s energy bills
- expanded district heat networks into new parts of the city
- granted £250,000 for local community energy projects and supported the development of England’s largest on-shore wind turbine in Lawrence Weston
Find more information about projects delivered by our Energy Service.
We achieved Gold Sustainable Food City status for our work to reduce the environmental footprint of our food.
- committed to at least 30% of Bristol’s land to be managed for the benefit of nature
- committed to reduce use of pesticides by 50%
- planted thousands of trees, with more than 9,000 planted in the last year
Business and the economy
We’ve developed the Bristol Climate Ask to encourage all businesses and organisations based in the city to declare an ambition to become net zero carbon by 2030.
Our plans for the future include:
- 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 charging points for electric vehicles
- creating 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
- supporting more businesses in Bristol to set ambitions to become net zero carbon with the Bristol Climate Ask