Author Archives: marvinjrees

UN International Day of Disabled People

Today’s guest blog is from Alun Davies, Chair of the new Bristol Disability Equality Commission

I am Alun Davies. I became chair of Bristol’s new Disability Equality Commission in September. This is my second contribution to the Mayor’s blog.

Before I give you an update on what I have been doing since September, I would like to talk about the United Nations International Day of Disabled People which takes place on 3rd  December. For me, this day is a timely reminder of the millions of Disabled people through-out the world who are denied really basic civil and human rights, choice equality and services. There are still many countries in the world where basic needs are not met, and services taken for granted elsewhere in the world do not exist for everyone. In many of these places Disabled people are often at the bottom of the pile if they are even considered at all.

It is of course understandable that we focus on making things better in Bristol and this country as that is where we live. Personally though, I think we must never miss the opportunity to remember we are part of a much bigger global community. I will be asking the Commission when we are working to mark each December 3rd with a call on every country that has not yet ratified the International Convention on the Rights of Disabled people to do so, and for all countries including this one to fully implement all aspects of the convention.

My focus since my last blog has been recruiting Disabled people to be commissioners. After an extensive publicity campaign, we have received over 20 applications. We will be interviewing over the next few weeks. I hope to announce the names of the commissioners by the end of January, and for the commission to meet for the first time in mid-February.

I have also chaired the first meeting of a task and finish group the Mayor asked me to set up. This group will be developing an action plan to implement the recommendations from the Building Rights report. The report, written by Sir Stephen Bubb, investigated the experiences of several people with autism and people with learning difficulties in the city. It revealed many challenges and concerns that the Mayor and all people engaged in working with and supporting people with Autism and people with learning difficulties in the city are determined to tackle. The group will report by March next year.

If anyone would like to contact me directly, please email the Commission’s general inbox: general.bdec@gmail.com

Tackling modern slavery

Today’s blog, to mark the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, is by Jaya Chakrabarti MBE, CEO of TISC Report and President of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce & Initiative. (Copyright: PA Photos)

Seven years ago I met an inspirational chap, Andrew Wallis (now with a well earned OBE). Andrew was (and still is) the CEO of the award winning anti-slavery charity Unseen, and he explained to me what human trafficking and modern slavery were. I was horrified, having led an incredibly sheltered life, as middle class Indian girls tend to lead. But I was finally able to understand where the street kids I played with in my childhood in my grandmother’s village had gone. They didn’t move. They were most likely trafficked across the border of Bangladesh and India.

I committed my geeky data skills that day to playing my part in putting an end to the systems that facilitated such terrible exploitation and misery for countless human beings. It was when, in my head, TISCreport.org (our Transparency in Supply Chains reporting platform) was born. 

We began, as data scientists, by monitoring compliance with the newly enacted Section 54 of the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015. Data flooded in from Companies House, Open Corporates, and a number of ethical companies willing to share their statements and their supplier lists. Nearly 18,000 large corporations in the UK were in scope, and through them, their supply chains. We had a huge task ahead. 

Six years later, we now know so much more about both the world of compliance and its connection with what happens to workers at the end of those supply chains. Exploitation happens not just out there in faraway lands but also much closer to home. TISCreport.org became a place where we were able to start to see patterns in corporate behaviour, and how they affected workers rights. Our systems were able to see things coming, from the collapse of Carillion to the reports of modern slavery in Boohoo’s supply chains in Leicester. 

It fills me with pride to say that my city, Bristol, was the first to commit to supply chain transparency in the UK, and in fact the world. Many have followed the lead we have set. The Welsh Government, with whom we work closely, has built upon Section 54 with its own ethical employment code of practice for all 22 Welsh local authorities. The Coop Party’s Modern Slavery Charter also encouraged many of its councils to sign up, with Bristol among the first to sign. 

Now, as 2021 comes to a close, we understand that we can use the same supply chains to amplify and accelerate our environmental actions. As it turns out, if we need to rewire the planet, supply chains are a good place to start! 

We may not have ended exploitation yet, but our data and the work of countless others has proven the interconnectedness between social and environmental justice. We’ve never been in a better position to take action on both. We just need to make what we do in 2022 count.

If your organisation wants to join the corporate transparency movement, you can join tiscreport.org for free. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Freedom of the City: Daryn Carter

On 9 November, Freedom of the City was awarded to Daryn Carter MBE, the director of Bristol Pride since co-founding the organisation in 2009.

I am proud to have proposed that Daryn be conferred with Freedom of the City, which recognises exceptional contributions to life in Bristol and beyond.

Freedom of the City is a rare honour, with Paul Stephenson and David Attenborough alongside former Prime Ministers and Nobel Laureates on the civic roll. In early December, Val Jeal, founder of local charity One 25, will become the first woman conferred with our highest civic honour.

Under Daryn’s leadership, Bristol Pride has grown its annual event to one of the largest in the country, with an audience of 40,000 in 2019. Daryn’s contribution to building a better, more equal Bristol, and Britain, is truly inspiring: from working with local schools and prisons, to inputting the LGBT+ manifesto into our One City Plan, to campaigning for the legalisation of same sex marriage. He won the Lord Mayor’s Medal in 2014 and, in 2020, was awarded an MBE in Her Majesty the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to the LGBT+ community.

Daryn’s Freedom of the City speech can be watched from 19:30 or read in full below.

I am incredibly humbled and honoured to be awarded freedom of the city.

I have now been working in equalities and diversity for nearly 20 years. From helping to improve engagement and diversity in my roles in recruitment with the BBC and others, to 13 years building Bristol Pride up from scratch to be one of the largest Pride events in the UK, and named in the Top50 Global Pride events and as many opportunities to step up and stand up for equality and injustice as I can in-between.

It is a labour of love and I am sure some of you have heard me say before that I feel that Pride saved my life, attending Brighton Pride showed me that I was not alone and not a freak at one of my darkest times it was hope. I hold that closely to my heart every year planning the festival, I remember what it means to so many and the power that it has to touch hearts and change minds. But it’s not been without challenge and personal sacrifice not just for myself but for those close to me too.

There are things to celebrate and progress made but it can for the most part be a thankless task. As well as the immense pressure of delivering events that champion and also support the community it’s done in the face of increasing tensions in society and it’s hard to be on the front line of this. Being exposed to the prejudice and hatred levelled at people for being who they are, loving who they love or simply existing is one of the biggest challenges of working to creating a better society for all. You have to take the rough with the smooth but it can take its toll. Sadly this tension is only gotten worse, Hate Crime levelled at the LGBT+ community trebled in the last few years with increasing physical violence and if you look at the stats for our Trans community it’s even worse, a rise of over 332%.

It is a stark reminder that there is still a lot more to do and that we all play a part in tackling social injustice, in all forms, to and ensure we stand up to protect and be a voice for all those that we represent regardless.

I said it’s a thankless task and we don’t do it for thanks. We do it because of passion and because it is much needed, but when the thank you’s do come they are truly welcome. This means so much to me.

Thank you.

South Bristol Youth Zone consultation

We’re delivering on our manifesto commitment with proposals to build a world-class Youth Zone in South Bristol.

Citizens are now being asked for their views on plans for the £8.4m Youth Zone, as well as the chance to shape how such a project would look.

Delivered by the national charity OnSide, Youth Zones are a network of affordable, high quality spaces with world class facilities, specially designed for children and young people (CYP) aged 8-19, or up to 25 for those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Below is a letter which we are sending to local residents who live near the proposed site, to encourage them to take part in the consultation before it closes on 2 January 2022.

Giving thanks to Bristol’s covid marshals

Today’s blog is by Councillor Ellie King, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Communities, and One City, and Labour Councillor for Hillfields

Today, we are celebrating the outstanding community work carried out by Bristol’s COVID marshals, with a new video marking the first anniversary of their introduction to the city.

The team of 16 were initially brought on board on 11 November 2020, as part of Bristol’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the last twelve months, the marshals have achieved so much. They have built trusted relationships with our communities and businesses in Bristol: speaking to people about their concerns, clarifying government guidance, and distributing thousands of documents like safety posters, workplace guides and letters.

They have walked up to 17 miles per day carrying out their important community work, treading Bristol’s streets even when they were completely empty. They have handed out over 86,000 face coverings and thousands of lateral flow tests to the public, equipping people with the tools they need to keep themselves and the people around them safe.

Working closely with the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucester Clinical Commissioning Group (BNSSG CCG), the marshals have also been involved in helping over 100 vaccination clinics run smoothly across different areas of the city. Their involvement has meant that more and more of us have had the opportunity to receive life-saving vaccinations safely.

Two years into this pandemic, it is more important than ever for us to look after and protect each other. That community spirit, duty of care, and generous attitude is what has brought Bristol together during challenging times, and the marshals have truly embodied that. During lockdowns, the ‘Tier’ system and since COVID measures have become de-regulated, the team have checked in on people who are self-isolating or shielding, and helped to deliver that crucial on the ground support to vulnerable areas.

To pay tribute to the tremendous efforts of the marshals, we are sharing a video with contributions from both within the council and partners, including Avon and Somerset Police, and the Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) Vaccination Programme.

Please join me in watching and sharing this video, to thank our marshals:

We are so incredibly proud of the work that has been done, and continues to be done to keep us all safe. It is important that we continue to play our part by following the precautionary measures to protect ourselves and others around us.

We are kind. We are safe. We are Bristol.

Glas-gow, going, gone

The prospect of limiting global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius is still alive, just, but the world remains ablaze. Antonio Guterres, the UN’s Secretary General, described this goal as being on “life support”. While there have been a series of important agreements, including on deforestation, Climate Action Tracker reports the planet is still heading for 2.4c of warming above pre-industrial levels.

Bristol on the world stage

Bristol has made a big contribution to COP26. I was there for ‘Finance Day’ and ‘Cities Day’. We also had Cabinet Member Councillor Nicola Beech and our Bristol MPs Darren Jones and Kerry McCarthy there. Meanwhile, our Black and Green Ambassadors, Roy Kareem and Olivia Sweeney, made headlines with their presentations on making the environmental movement more inclusive.

We were there in our own right as a city taking real action, three years on from the words of declaring an climate emergency. We were also there as part of a collective of cities — global networks of city mayors and leaders including C40 cities, ICLEI (International Local Governments for Sustainability), Eurocities, and the UK Cities Climate Investment Commission (UKCCIC).

On these various stages I have continued to carry a clear set of messages over the last fortnight.

First, that cities and their mayors should be put front and centre of any COP26 commitments. The battle against climate change will be won or lost in cities. Cities already account for three-quarters of global carbon emissions, and by 2050, 68% of people will live in urban areas. Bad urbanisation is a threat. But good urbanisation can plan for more efficient living that reduces carbon emissions, supports the recovery of wildlife, and builds more just and more inclusive societies.

Second, national governments, international organisations, and private finance must work together to enable mayors to access the scale of investment they to decarbonisation as their existing cities and the future of urbanisation. 

Ensuring a just transition

Third, we need a just transition. I pointed out the triple hit of climate change: that people have been exploited hand in glove with the exploitation of the planet; that those people will then be hit first and hardest by the consequences of climate change; that those people are most at risk of being further disadvantaged by the economic restructuring we must go through if we are meet the 1.5c target. Failure to deliver a just transition will not only be a moral failure but could generate a political backlash as people lose hope and predatory, extremist political actors move to take advantage of the confusion.  

The need for fairness, with social justice hand-in-hand with environmental justice, has proved essential in developing our Clean Air Zone plans. We have taken the time to get things right – including on hospital staff and visitor exemptions, and support for people and businesses to transition. The same is needed for our work tackling the twin challenges of the climate and ecological emergencies. We must be thorough because while time is in short supply, it is also true that we don’t have time to get this wrong.

Cities offer hope

I opened this blog with a sobering reality check, but I also want to share grounds for some hope.

First, COP26 did, for the first time, start talking about cities. Cities and local governments are mentioned in the final agreements. This is a source of hope because with the right kind of finance, cities can deliver irrespective of the ability or inability of national governments to agree targets that meet the scale of the challenge. And from London to Los Angeles, from Bristol to Freetown, that is what we have committed to do.

Second, COP26 has been talking about city finance. As part of UKCCIC we have identified £205 billion of decarbonisation opportunities and needs across the UK’s 12 biggest cities (representing 60% of the population and over half of the economy). Former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney worked up £130 trillion of private sector finance commitment under the Glasgow Finance Alliance for Net Zero. We need to ensure that this and government announcements focus on timescales and places, and the regulatory change that will enable us to access funding and deliver projects.

Getting stuff done

This is all very welcome but I have concerns.

First, that large sums of money will be announced but they will not address the problem of cities’ limited ability to actually access the money. Second, that having seen the need for finance, governments, international organisations, and foundations will begin announcing pots of money in an uncoordinated way that will add to the financial complexity cities already face difficulty navigating.

We have some next steps. On my first at day at COP I shared the stage with Treasury Minister Helen Whately MP. I suggested the UKCCIC have a day with the Treasury where we map out the investment need and journey and agree a decarbonisation plan. That meeting is being arranged and could enable Bristol to plan and embark on its own £10 billion decarbonisation journey, while other Core Cities and London embark on theirs.

Next year, the Commonwealth Heads of Government will be having their biannual meeting. I suggested we undertake the same exercise with a collection of Commonwealth cities with the intention of announcing their journey at the gathering in Rwanda. 50% of the urbanisation up to 2050 will happen in the Commonwealth, so this presents a huge opportunity.

We have been raising issues of finance, social equity, and the need for an inclusive approach to climate action to raise the ambition of other cities and national government through our own ambitious policy and green business and industry strengths in Bristol. Speaking the same language, through the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, can cut through the complexity of cities. The SDGs show the interdependency of to-do lists for places like Bristol, and the interconnected benefits of invested in cities across public health, economy, housing, and environment.

Actions, not just words

This year’s COP was particularly significant because it comes on the third anniversary of our declaration of a climate emergency.

We haven’t been sitting around, waiting for the international community. We delivered lots since the motion – including much work behind the scenes like City Leap procurement and building the case for investment. Energy and transport remain the two major carbon contributors in Bristol, and we are proud to have insulated some 70% of council homes to EPC level C standard. This is around double the figure for the city as a whole, and last week we announced a new scheme to ensure that private landlords improve energy efficiency in their properties.

We have been creating the conditions to enable other organisations to join us in delivering for Bristol.

COP26 has enabled us to build more momentum both in terms of what we are saying to government and business, and in increasing climate action by local engagement of citizens and businesses. We want every community in Bristol to make and take ownership of their own community climate action plan, and Hartcliffe and Lawrence Weston have gotten off to a great start. No two plans will be the same – and they shouldn’t be – and the Bristol Disability Equality Forum’s community climate action project shows just how we can leave nobody behind in making a just transition.

Since 2016, we have invested over £30 million into low-carbon energy projects, like heat networks, solar panels, electric vehicle charging, and energy efficiency. This programme is delivering England’s largest wind turbine in the north of the city, and, through City Funds, and Bristol’s first hydro-powered dam at the Feeder by St Annes.

Doing, not delaying

I want to finish with this. On Thursday Sadiq Khan told the UN Secretary General and other delegates that C40 had mobilised an international alliance of investors to deliver $1bn (£750m) for zero-emission buses in Latin America.

“In cities, we are the doers, in contrast to national governments who are the delayers, kicking the can down the road to 2040 or 2050,” he said. “National governments can talk a good game, but then refuse to put in place the plans, action or funding we desperately need. Unfortunately, we have seen more examples of this at COP26.”

Cities want to work in partnership with national government: only together can we have any chance of averting the climate emergency.

Climate action in Hartcliffe

Today’s guest blog comes from Kirsty Hammond, Climate Action Practitioner at Heart of BS13

Since July 2020 I’ve been working with young people from my community in BS13 to explore the real-world actions that we must all take if we are to stand any chance of mitigating the global climate emergency. 

My role as Heart of BS13’s Climate Action Practitioner has catapulted me onto my own journey, and it’s been so powerful to share what I’ve been learning about low carbon futures and green economy jobs with young people who have their own dreams and ambitions for how they will play their part in a changing world.

One thing that has become really clear to me is how communities already experiencing financial and social hardships will face even more of an uphill struggle as the climate and ecological emergency unfolds.  Energy, food, and transport costs will get higher. As new green economy opportunities emerge, investment in education, skills and training will (unless there is a concerted effort made to include deprived communities) remain in already affluent and engaged areas of the city, leaving us even further behind.

Disrupting inequality

I’ve grown up all my life in Hartcliffe and have my own first-hand experience of how the inequality here is systemic and transgenerational.  Children grow up in a vicious cycle of poverty that in turn incubates Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) that go on to affect educational outcomes.  Fewer than 2% of young people from this area go into higher education with most working a lifetime in low skill, low pay jobs.  Limited work opportunities place an immense burden on physical and emotional health, which then feeds into the same cycle for future generations.  If the only jobs that children and young people see are the low pay, low skill jobs of their family members, then aspiration, self-belief, hope, and opportunity are simply words.  Put simply, if you can’t see it, you can’t be it.

Our mission at Heart of BS13 is to disrupt this systemic, transgenerational inequality, by bringing together our knowledge of and passion for this community with the innovations that must happen because of the climate emergency.  We want to ensure that BS13 benefits from climate action opportunities rather than afterthoughts. 

Over the coming years we will be creating partnerships and initiatives that ensure exposure to new technologies, fresh thinking, and practical training.  60% of the green economy jobs that will be needed do not yet exist.  This is our chance to join the dots between inequality, life-chances, and the climate and ecological emergency. 

We want to make sure that from their very earliest years, BS13 children face the climate and ecological emergency equipped with the same advantages as their middle-class peers and create a new narrative for this community through education and jobs and improving the life chances of those who follow.

Find out how to get involved and volunteer with Heart of BS13 here.

The Big Housing Conversation

Today’s blog comes from Cllr Tom Renhard, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Housing Delivery and Homes

We are facing the need to urgently address the twin issues of the housing crisis and the climate emergency in our city. We must do both and we must ensure that we are not leaving people behind in our approach.

Bristol City Council owns and manages over 28,500 homes. The rents and service charges collected are used to provide services to the tenants and leaseholders living in these homes. They are also used to repair, maintain, and improve the homes, communal areas, blocks and estates. They can also be used to build new homes to meet housing needs.

Retrofitting Bristol’s housing stock

Over the last five years, we have invested over £42 million in retrofitting our council housing stock. This has included:

  • 6,500 homes with improved heating systems
  • 800 houses and 1,000 flats in blocks with improved external wall insulation
  • 1,000 new roofs with improved insulation
  • 2,500 double glazed replacements
  • 2,000 loft insulation top ups
  • 99% homes have double glazing and 98% of cavity walls are filled,

Our independent tenant energy advice service also saved tenants a total of £192,000 in the last financial year.

Retrofit forms an important part of the strategy. Latest estimates suggest the cost could be as high as £540 million to do what we need to our whole council housing stock. As the Mayor has recently reported, the cost to decarbonise Bristol’s economy could be as high as £9 billion. This may still be a conservative estimate.

We are signed up to support the Great Homes Upgrade, as we know that significant support will be needed from national government to deliver at scale and at the pace needed.

Help shape Bristol’s plan for housing

People in Bristol are being asked for their views to help shape the 30-year plan for providing and maintaining council homes in Bristol. Views are being sought through a survey and through the opportunity for people to select their priorities for investing in council homes by creating a suggested budget.

How do we balance our local contribution to continuing our retrofit programme alongside other priorities? We have a limited pot of money to balance a range of resident / prospective resident priorities, including maintenance, replacing kitchens and potentially bathrooms, the need to get homes built for some 16,000 families on the housing register, alongside approximately 1,000 households currently in temporary accommodation.

The choices may be seen as easy in the eyes of some, and we must ensure we are taking the time to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes when thinking about balancing the needs we are to address.

We’re asking you to let us know what your priorities would be for spending and raising the money that we need. How do we get the right balance between investing in the standard of our existing homes, investing to reduce carbon emissions, and investing to build new homes? We need your view to help shape the plan for investing in council homes across our city.

To find out more and to give your views please visit www.bristolhousingconversation.co.uk. The survey will be open until Friday 3 December.

You can request a paper copy, alternative format or translated version of the survey by contacting the housing team by email at housing.conversation@bristol.gov.uk or by phone on 0117 352 1444.

Cabinet will decide whether to approve the recommended 30-year business plan in early 2022.

Decarbonising Bristol’s transport

Today’s guest blog comes from Cllr Don Alexander, Cabinet Member for Transport

One fifth of the UK’s damaging greenhouse gas emissions come from road transport and that’s a problem that I’m determined we must address here in Bristol.

There’s much we can do as individuals to reduce our own transport carbon footprint and I recommend a look at the Council’s dedicated Climate Hub website to get some ideas.

However, if we regard this as a challenge for individuals only then we ignore the fact that many of our citizens have limited choices, perhaps due to disability, age, gender or job requirements. We need to take bold action now to open up choices for all and incentivise the movement away from carbon intensive modes of travel and into more sustainable modes.

In practice, what does this mean?

Active travel: We need better infrastructure for walking and cycling. Our Liveable Neighbourhoods strategy will offer an approach to transforming residential areas into places where active travel is an appealing option.

Buses (the vehicles themselves): We need to work with our bus operators to decarbonise their vehicles. This is happening now, building on the successful Bus Deal which brought in biomethane buses on the Number 2 route. Options now being looked at include electric and hydrogen powered vehicles.

Buses (infrastructure): Building on the Bus Deal, we need to make further changes to our strategic roads which will give priority to buses over more damaging modes of transport. Further plans for the A37/A4018 are about to be released for public consultation. Improving the reliability, speed, and the cost of using the bus cannot be achieved simply by increasing the number of vehicles. That would simply lead to yet more congestion.

Buses (network): A network based around radial services might work for a town but in a city the size of Bristol we also need orbital routes with hubs where travellers can change between modes of transport. In addition to this, more integrated ticketing and accurate travel information is being planned to improve patronage of all forms of public transport. Read WECA’s Bus Service Improvement Plan, which was recently submitted to the Department for Transport, here.

Mass transit: Our vision for public transport must be bold. There are strategic corridors in the city where it simply won’t be possible to achieve the level of segregation for buses that would make them the attractive alternative to cars that they need to be. We must plan underground alternatives for some corridors.

To achieve all these things, we need increased Government funding. We also need Bristol residents to embrace the citywide challenge we face to reach Net Zero by 2030 and the recognition that we all need to live and travel differently.

Hopes for COP26

More than 300 people took part in the October City Gathering last week, showing our Bristol One City Approach in action. The main focus was our climate and ecological emergencies, in the run up to COP26 in Glasgow.

We opened by setting out the scale and urgency of the climate and ecological emergencies. This included presentations on the growing challenge of climate-driven migration and the need to ensure we have what unions have called a ‘Just Transition’, by which we mean the most vulnerable are not negatively impacted by the measures we take to decarbonise our systems.

We then heard from people, groups and organisations from across the Bristol who shared what they were doing to support the 2030 Net Zero target set out in the Bristol One City Climate Strategy. But we know Bristol’s efforts alone won’t be enough, that it’s going to take a change in the very nature of the national and international political economy to meet the challenge of keeping global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees or less.

In the final section of the event, we heard more about the work we have done to connect cities, including Bristol, with the investment needed to decarbonise the very energy, transport, housing and food systems on which city life depends. As Mark Carney recently said, we can’t get to net zero by flipping a green switch. We have to rewire our entire economies. 

Our key messages

I asked for contributions from attendees, to tell me what messages they wanted me take to Glasgow for COP26. And we have already been sharing a number of important messages in the lead up to COP. Among them:

  • That the battle against climate change will be won or lost in cities. We cannot successfully decarbonise the world economy without decarbonising our cities.
  • That to be successful, COP must produce the basis (or better still launch) decarbonisation plans that are set in actual places (cities), have measurable outcomes set against agreed and ambitious dates, and all this must be matched by the scale of investment needed to deliver it.

To decarbonise Bristol’s economy we anticipate it will require an investment of approximately £9.5bn. The UK Cities Climate Investment Commission has identified at least £205bn decarbonisation opportunities across the UK Core Cities and London Councils. Mark Carney has called for £100tn as the minimum amount of external finance needed for the sustainable energy drive over the next three decades if it to be  effective.

The numbers are big, but they also give us hope. As the Chair of the UKCCIC, Prof Greg Clark, said at the City Gathering “We know how to do this”.

On Radio 4’s Westminster Hour on Sunday 31 October (listen from 10:27), I explained that this will only by possible with long term predictable finance from central government. Give us ten years of predictable finance, and we’ll be able to produce a ten-year plan to decarbonise our transportation, energy and waste systems. This is reflected in Bristol’s One City Plan, as we try to plan, as an entire city, our shared objectives and goals up until 2050.

Why should Bristol be at COP26?

It’s important for Bristol to have a presence at COP26. We are trying to secure the investment needed for our city to decarbonise. We have consistently said that working for the interests of Bristol cannot be fulfilled by only working within our city borders. We must influence the national and international context in which we operate and which shapes our lives.

Climate change will impact Bristol in numerous ways. Among those we have been focussing on are flooding, air quality and heat. So we must plan for and develop solutions for a city which can still function, but also consider the effect those have on our wildlife and nature.

But we are not only impacted within our geographical area. We are an international city. Many Bristolians have relatives across the world, in countries which are on the frontline of climate change, desertification, loss of arable land and coastal flooding, such as Bangladesh, Jamaica and Sierra Leone.

Related to this is the growing pressure of climate-driven migration. It’s anticipated that there will be up to 200 million climate-driven migrants by the middle of the century – Bristol will host many of them. As members of the Mayor’s Migration Council and C40’s Task Force on Climate and Migration, we are influencing the responses to this challenge to support those people and ensure the best outcomes for Bristol.

Bristol cannot abstract itself from the global context: politically, morally or technically. COP is an event of global significance, and will involve thousands of delegates. Our voice will be there to speak up for Bristol and the city networks we are a part of. We are urging national politicians to act now, to work with city leaders here and in the developing world to ensure the declarations are attached to how they are going to be delivered.

Highlights from my schedule for COP26:

Wednesday 3 November – Representing the UK Cities Climate Investment Commission, composed of Bristol and other UK Core Cities, London Councils and coordinated by Connected Places Catapult.

These events will enable us to discuss with government and investors on potential £200 billion plus collective low carbon investment opportunities across the UK’s 12 cities, an approach for place-based financing and low carbon demonstrator districts.

The city investment Imperative for Net Zero (Uk Cities Climate Investment Commission event in partnership with ICLEI: (speaking on panel in the UNFCCC blue zone, ICLEI LGMA pavilion)

Investing to Achieve Net Zero (Glasgow City Chambers)

Thursday 4 NovemberBristol Green Zone event “The Business of Net Zero” in partnership with Business West, exploring the economic opportunities of the low carbon transition

Tuesday 9 NovemberClimate Migration: Cities at the Forefront- Bloomberg Green Summit Representing C40 cities network and the Mayor’s Migration Council as a member of the Global Taskforce on Climate Migration – raising agenda on more inclusive climate action.

Wednesday 10 November – Eurocities/Mayors Alliance for a European Green Deal; UK100 reception for city leaders (As a member of the Mayor’s Alliance, with other European Mayors and City Leaders raising the importance of the implementation of the European Green Deal and a socially just and green covid recovery)

Thursday 11 November – High-Level Champions and Marrakech Partnership at COP26, Main UNFCC Cities and Regions Programme (Anticipating challenges for an equitable and resilient future, Representing C40 cities network and the Mayor Migration Council as a member of the Global Taskforce on Climate Migration)