tower blocks covered in greenery

Climate change is climbing organisations’ agendas. Worldwide, around 2,000 cities so far have declared climate emergencies and are setting their own net zero and carbon neutrality goals. 73% of the urban population in the UK currently live in cities with net zero targets.[1]

These goals are impressive, but they need to be backed up with clear strategy, plan and action.

Bristol, a city in the south west of England, is one such city putting these plans into action, implementing a target to be carbon neutral by 2030 and for the city council to become a carbon neutral organisation by 2025, including council offices, schools, housing, libraries and museums.

James Sterling, Communications, Engagement and Partnerships Manager at Bristol City Council, shares, “the council has invested over £60m of its own budgets and a great deal of grant funding as well from Europe and central government, to invest in clean tech” and energy infrastructure at scale.

“Immediately upon setting that target, we started to consult with city partners. We started to work with some consultancies to actually develop a roadmap and help us to build that future strategy […] We published the One City Climate Strategy for Bristol, which sets out all of the things we need to do.”

Another example of a net zero city in action is Oxford County Council’s Local Energy Oxford project. With the creation of the new Salt Cross Garden Village, they are creating access to affordable housing with transport links to Oxford city centre. The village markets itself as zero carbon and using 100% renewable energy.

Sandra Fives, CEO of Urbanomy, says, “It’s an example of another project undertaken at a local level, involving local communities, which is another thing cities are great at doing. They have to engage with the local stakeholders. Putting them around the table, taking into consideration the plans - and their input into the plans - is absolutely key to the success.”

To learn more about how net-zero cities are developing, listen to our recent episode of Talking New Energy, the podcast from Delta-EE, Net-zero cities: lots of talk, how much action?

[1] According to Sandra Fives, Urbanomy in the Talking New Energy podcast