The buildings being approved in Bristol now – and the planning policies used to determine what standards are required from them – will help determine whether the city meets its ambitious target to go carbon neutral by 2030, set in 2018 following the Climate Emergency motion proposed by Greens and passed unanimously.
Bristol Green and Labour Councillors worked together on a motion to last night’s (7 September) Full Council meeting which would see all new developments in Bristol required to meet zero carbon emissions standards. Greens authored the motion and then collaborated with the Labour group on changes to it after Labour cabinet members made detailed suggestions to support the motion’s aims, and ensure they could be fully implemented at the nearest opportunity. Seconded by Labour’s Housing Cabinet lead Tom Renhard, the motion passed with unanimous support from all parties.
Under current regulations, many new developments built will require expensive retrofitting work in a few years’ time to reduce their energy usage. This makes it more difficult and expensive for the city to reduce its emissions but could also place a burden on new occupants, who might face paying for the cost of retrofitting. The motion brought by Greens and Labour calls on the Council to update its Local Plan as soon as possible to require net zero carbon emissions from new developments in the city.
Green Councillor for Windmill Hill, Lisa Stone, who proposed the motion, said:
“To its credit, Bristol was the first city to declare a climate emergency in the UK back in 2018. At the time we set a tough, ambitious target for the city to go carbon neutral by 2030. We now have an opportunity to help make that target achievable, by imposing strong carbon emissions limits for energy and power in all new homes built in Bristol. As well as tackling climate change, we know that housing built to high standards brings other benefits like better insulation and lower energy bills.
“I was happy to work with the Labour group on alterations to help put my motion into practice by bringing tougher energy requirements into the Local Plan currently being updated. So I’m delighted the motion has passed – this sends a strong signal from Full Council, and I expect to see it reflected in the plan.
“Councillors from all parties voted for the Climate Emergency motion back in 2018 – it’s now time for us to put that into practice. As the recent IPCC report makes clear, the cost for all of us of failing to prepare for the future is too great to bear.”