Today, 13th November, marks the fifth anniversary of the motion proposed by Bristol’s Green Councillors that saw Bristol declare a Climate Emergency; the first such declaration in Europe.
The recently published Climate Action Scorecards, assessed by Climate Emergency UK, measure and compare the performance of councils across the UK in their progress towards Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions. Bristol has ranked joint 7th on a list of 182 single-tier councils, which the Greens believe is a reason to be proud of this city, and a cause for celebration.
Cllr Katy Grant, Co-Shadow Cabinet member for climate and ecology, said; “In the last few years, we have seen dramatically improved climate action across the city. As the largest group on the council, Greens have consistently pushed for stronger commitments to emissions reduction, carbon accounting and metrics, building climate resilience, and protecting habitat and biodiversity in the city.
“The council also has a tireless and expert staff team to thank for the realisation of some significant step-changes in the delivery of these commitments.”
However, the Climate Action Scorecard is clear that in a few key areas, under the current Labour administration, Bristol City Council could still do better. Transport, in particular, stands out as an area where much more must be done.
Cllr Carla Denyer, Co-Shadow Cabinet member for climate and ecology, MP candidate for Bristol Central and national co-leader of the Green Party, said: “After May 2024, in the new collaborative committee system, Bristol’s Green Councillor group intend to get working on transport climate action; including implementation of the workplace parking levy, improved routes for walking and cycling, improving Bristol’s public transport network including through bus franchising, safer streets around schools, and much faster rollout of electric car charging points.
“The scorecards show that Bristol needs to do more on planning and land use too. Greens have been working hard to ensure the new Local Plan contains higher standards for addressing embodied carbon and sustainable energy use in new buildings”.
Bristol’s score on biodiversity is still low. The Greens say that a Green-led 2024 city council will accelerate and enhance commitments made in the Ecological Emergency Action plans, with more of our green space managed for nature. They also believe that the city needs more thoughtful procurement and more robust collaboration on water quality. A Green-led City Council will use its influence with the regional West of England Combined Authority for a swifter shift towards building our local green economy, technical skills, and a frequent, well connected public transport network, the group says.
Cllr Katy Grant continued; “Bristol has a commendable profile as a city with climate ambitions. Alongside council efforts, this is due to the many community groups and local activists fighting hard for change. Now we need to make sure that this is followed up with measurable action in all areas of city life. The 2021 Bristol Citizens’ Assembly results show a broad-based desire for better city-wide policy and budgeting. And a community led Just Transition Declaration that will be voted on at a Council meeting this Tuesday lays out key principles for how we can embed principles of fairness, inclusiveness and solidarity in the city’s transition to Net Zero.”