Bristol’s Ecological Emergency Action Plan

Mayor Marvin Rees at Eastwood Farm in Brislington, with Councillor Nicola Beech, to launch Bristol's Ecological Emergency Action Plan. Marvin and Nicola are holding vegetable boxes, smiling alongside Lisa Jones, Head of Communities and Engagement at Avon Wildlife Trust, and Stuart Gardner, West of England Nature Partnership (WENP) Manager.

Bristol’s Ecological Emergency Action Plan is how the council will protect species, restore habitats, and embed nature into decision-making.

Crucially, it sits alongside our wider environmental efforts, and takes us up to 2025. Last year, we declared an Ecological Emergency, and are working together with city partners to deliver our One City Ecological Emergency Strategy.

Bristol’s ecosystems are vitally important to us all. After all, many of us have enjoyed the chance to connect – or reconnect – with nature in our parks and green spaces. All Bristolians should be able to access greenspaces and wildlife in their neighbourhood.

Progress so far

Our administration has overseen an 80% reduction in direct council emissions and we are working to be carbon neutral by 2025. Meanwhile, Bristol beat it’s 40% reduction target by 2019. We need that same ambition – with local and national support – to tackle our ecological emergency.

And, while it is true that climate and ecology are interdependent, they are not the same. As Ian Barrett, Chief Executive of Avon Wildlife Trust, rightly says: if we tackle climate change but our eco-systems collapse, then that will still be an existential threat.

Importantly, we’ve got more than just the green shoots of recovery. Our administration has already planted 60,000 trees and reduced mowing to help pollinators. Moreover, we have also brought cows to Stoke Park, goats to the gorge, and are investing in new wetlands as part of flood defences in Severnside. But the challenge cannot be understated. Amid a global collapse, 96% of Bristol’s songbirds have been lost; we need to continue to adapt and invest to safeguard our ecosystems.

Our Ecological Emergency Action Plan

Bristol’s Ecological Emergency Action Plan has five key points to do just that:

  1. Integrate best ecological practice into each area of the council’s activity, allowing us to lead the city by example
  2. Demonstrate the council’s commitment to the One City Ecological Emergency Strategy alongside the One City Climate Strategy and its objectives
  3. Support and influence action by partners and through partnerships
  4. Support and enable action by citizens
  5. Develop evidence and knowledge to support decision making and innovation in addressing nature-related issues

In partnership with communities, organisations, and businesses, we can create a healthy, happy, habitat-rich city. Together, we can ensure that 30% of Bristol’s land is managed for the benefit of wildlife and reduce the use of pesticides in the city by at least half. Likewise, all our waterways should have excellent water quality with reduced consumption of products that undermine ecosystems around the world.

Mayor Marvin Rees at Eastwood Farm in Brislington to launch Bristol's Ecological Emergency Action Plan. Marvin is smiling, alongside a volunteer posing with a scythe.