Tougher environmental targets for the council’s own activities will be considered at Cabinet to help Bristol remain on track to be run entirely on clean energy by 2050.
Bristol City Council successfully achieved its previous target of a 50% reduction in carbon emissions from council operations (against a 2005 baseline) three years ahead of schedule, and has now delivered a massive 60% reduction in 2016/17.
The council is now proposing a new carbon reduction target for its own operations of 65% by 2020, alongside a refreshed environmental policy and an ongoing commitment to meeting high environmental standards across all of its activities. The overall target for the city is to reduce emissions by 40% from the 2005 baseline, so the council’s benchmark is much tougher than the wider city goal.
The council’s good performance is largely due to making its buildings more energy efficient, investments in renewable energy infrastructure such as wind turbines and solar panels, and upgrades to street lighting. Recent milder winter temperatures have also played a role in reducing emission levels.
The proposed new policy commits Bristol City Council to continually improve its own environmental performance, and use its position as a large landowner, employer and consumer to influence the wider community to consider their environmental impacts.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “We are leading the way in our efforts to reduce the environmental impact of council operations across the city. With a large number of public buildings to manage alongside a busy and mobile workforce, we have a responsibility to ensure we are running services as efficiently and sustainably as possible. That is why we have made investments in renewables and worked hard to reduce our energy use across our operations.
“We have made good progress as a council, but we need to go much further to meet our environmental goals for Bristol and a refreshed policy will help us do that. I am determined we continue to lead by example and encourage everyone in the city play their part, bringing us closer to the huge challenge of ensuring that the whole city is run entirely on clean energy by 2050. That is why I’m proposing we set this new, tougher carbon reduction target for our own operations and I have asked officers to find ways of helping other organisations reduce their carbon emissions, starting with an energy efficiency scheme for Bristol schools which I will be launching on 2 November.”
The new carbon reduction target will be achieved by continuing to make council buildings more energy efficient or powered by renewables. The city’s expanding low carbon heat network is also expected to help reduce carbon emissions further by reducing consumption of electricity and gas over time.
Cllr Fi Hance, Cabinet Member for Energy, added: “The council’s achievements show how much organisations can reduce their emissions and I’d like to thank officers across a number of teams for all their hard work in making the council one of the leading local authorities in the country when it comes to reducing carbon emissions. Public buildings and businesses are responsible for 40% of the climate pollution caused by the city so it is important that these savings are replicated across the business and public sectors. The council is willing and able to offer its expertise to support other organisations to reduce their carbon emissions and improve their overall environmental performance.”
You can read more about the proposed new policy, which is due to be discussed at Cabinet next Tuesday, through the council’s website.