Bristol’s response to the climate emergency

Councillor Kye Dudd, smiling, with trees and College Green in the background.
Today’s guest blog is from Councillor
Kye Dudd, Cabinet Member for
Climate, Ecology, Waste, and Energy and Labour Councillor for Southmead ward.

Taking action to meet the climate emergency is a key job for our administration. As a local authority, many of the decisions we make can be traced back to the challenge we face in protecting our city against a changing climate and building a Bristol that is resilient but supports sustainable growth.

Together, we’ve set ambitious goals of becoming a carbon neutral, climate resilient, and nature rich city. To do this, we have to decarbonise our economy and infrastructure. We must also create a more circular economy where we reduce water use, better reuse and recycle products and materials, and support the regeneration of the natural environment.

You’ll notice I am using “we” a lot. That’s because this is a challenge that cannot be met by one person or organisation alone – it will take a collective effort both within and outside of our city.

Our One City Climate Strategy sets out what that collaboration looks like and the contribution that’s needed from different parts of our city economy. From the individual up to the biggest employers, each has a role to play, including us at the council.

At the start of every financial year we set out the actions we intend to take in the following 12 months. The latest version of this plan will be discussed and reviewed at Cabinet next week (Tuesday 2 May) and includes the set of actions the council intends to deliver in pursuit of our climate goals. These actions are spread across four themes that relate to delivering carbon neutrality, ecological recovery, cleanliness and waste, and climate resilience.

You can read the plan online and see how each of these themes is expected to bring us closer to meeting our goals. The annual business plan contains a few of the highlights of the action we are taking and for more detail you can read the Mayor’s Climate Emergency Action Plan or our website.

The plan includes actions we will take within the council to cut our emissions but also through the Bristol City Leap Partnership we secured, building on the £100 million our administration has already invested in decarbonisation programmes. We will make the most of the £630 million investment planned for the next five years, creating over 1,000 new jobs and cutting a further 150,000 tonnes of emissions.

Despite the council now being responsible for less than 0.5% of our city’s carbon emissions, we must continue play a key leadership role in bringing organisations together to achieve net zero. The One City Approach is about collective city leadership and generating united action, including on climate change, like never before. But those collective efforts have a ceiling and will only achieve our targets if national and international bodies can also pull the right levers to bring about change. We continue to work with partners to begin to leverage hundreds of billions of pounds of climate investment into cities like Bristol.

Whilst our business plan contains much to set the course of the action we will take this year, it also delivers a stark warning that a just transition to a low-carbon economy needs largescale national investment and action from the government and the business community.