Tag Archives: Environment

Welcoming wildlife home: St George Park Lake reopens

Councillor Ellie King, standing on the ramp of Bristol City Hall smiling.
Today’s guest blog is from Councillor Ellie King, cabinet member for public health and communities.

Making safe spaces for nature, and giving people better opportunities to learn more about our diverse ecosystem is so important for the health and wellbeing of the city.

Since 1970, 60 per cent of wild invertebrate and up to 76 per cent of insects have been lost globally. When we announced our Ecological Emergency in 2020, we committed to doing as much as we could to bring back this lost wildlife to communities in Bristol. Through investment in projects such as St George Park Lake, we hope to provide more habitats for animal and plant life to flourish in our city.

St George Park Lake has reopened to the public after restoration, repair and enhancement works. I am sure people will enjoy strolling around the lake and spotting all the changes and over time looking out for new wildlife who will make this their home.

The lake reopens after a £400,000 investment to restore the facilities for Bristol residents and visitors to enjoy, and to make improvements to benefit the local wildlife. The restoration has made the area more attractive for birds, bats, insects, frogs, and other wildlife as well as improving the ecology on the island in the lake, where the wildfowl nest and rear their young each year. The new boardwalk dipping platform will be a great place for children and school groups to get closer to nature and learn all about Bristol’s beautiful and diverse natural world.

Image of the newly refurbished St George Lake. The new pathway is visible on the right of the image.

Residents and visitors will notice a range of enhancements in and around the lake designed to improve accessibility for everyone and complement the natural environment. These include; completely new and safer pathways, a new amphitheatre area for outdoor performances, and new bird and bat boxes. Information boards about the history, biodiversity and ecology of the lake will also be installed by end of the year.

In the next couple of months planting will take place on the island to improve ground cover and add to the plant diversity for birds and pollinators. Fencing around the amphitheatre area will remain in place until the newly planted grass is fully established. A number of repairs have also been done behind the scenes to make sure this important Victorian lake can be enjoyed by future generations. These include strengthening the lake walls, desilting the lake, improving drainage and putting in new benches.

Newly refurbished St George Lake. In the foreground of the image is the new pathway.

The silt removed from the lake was used to help build the new amphitheatre, but has also been used to create new natural wetland areas full of marginal and aquatic plant species where wildfowl, amphibious creatures and insects can thrive. Birds, bees, frogs, and pond micro-beasts, such as water-boatmen and pond-skaters will likely-benefit in the short-term, but in the future it is hoped, dragonflies, damselflies, newts, and bats too, will come to enjoy the new mini-wetland habitat.

To read more about how the council is managing our green spaces for the benefit of wildlife , visit the council’s website.

£95,000 for groups taking climate and nature action

Councillor Kye Dudd, stands in the foreground of the image smiling, with a blue suit and red tie. In the background are trees and grass with two blurred out people on his right wearing a red and blue coat.
Today’s blog is by Councillor Kye Dudd, Cabinet Member for Climate, Ecology, Energy, and Waste.

A total of 25 Bristol community groups and non-profit organisations have been offered grants of up to £5,000 towards their work reducing carbon emissions or supporting nature recovery in our city.

Some of the applicants that have been offered a grant include Ambition Lawrence Weston, Bristol Somali Youth Voice, WECIL, Filwood Residents Group, Horfield Methodist Church, and Easton Community Children’s Centre.

I’m delighted that so many community organisations, some which often don’t get access to this kind of funding, were able to apply for – and win – a grant to enable the brilliant work they’ve been doing across the city. The breadth of applications received demonstrates that the climate emergency is a city-wide concern, and communities all across Bristol are taking climate action.

The grants form part of the council’s overall programme in response to the climate and ecological emergencies; they sit alongside the council reducing its own climate footprint, improving its land for nature and big investments in infrastructure for the future of the city.

As part of our One City Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategies, we invited groups and not-for-profit organisations working to apply for a grant of up to £5,000 support the work they’re doing to either reduce emissions that cause climate change, or makes changes that benefit wildlife in Bristol.

We announced the grants earlier this year with an online Q&A session, which was followed up by an outreach programme of events across our city. The outreach work aimed to make the grants accessible to all communities and those often excluded from funding opportunities.

Applicants had to demonstrate that their activities from their grant would result in either:

  • a clear reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, for example by encouraging a switch to means of transport that don’t use fossil fuels, making community services less reliant on fossil fuels, or encouraging reuse or repair activities
  • physical changes that benefit wildlife in Bristol, for example through improving an area of land for wildlife or creating a new area of wildlife habitat
In the foreground of the image you can see 5 rows of black solar panels that are placed on a roof f a building on Temple Street. In the background you can see a row of building including St Mary Redcliffe church that pokes out above the rest of the buildings, with trees in-between. A blue sky with a few small clouds is at the top of the photo.
Solar panels on Temple Street

Since being the first city in the UK to declare both climate and ecological emergencies, we’ve worked tirelessly to bring the whole city on board to meet the challenges these crises bring. There’s already hugely impressive work going on in the city, but to meet our ambitious targets of being climate neutral by 2030, we need everyone in the city to play their part. From businesses signing up to the Bristol Climate Ask and declaring their net zero ambitions, to individuals making changes to their lifestyles, and community groups, such as the successful applicants to the grant.

I’m looking forward to visiting some of these projects and hearing how the funding has made a difference.

If you’re feeling inspired to start taking climate action and making space for nature, Bristol Climate Hub has ideas and suggestions for individuals, companies and communities.

Launching ‘Keep Bristol Cool’

Heatwaves

An overview image of Bristol Harbour, with building covering the centre and left side of the image. On the right of the image the harbour sits with the sun reflecting of the surface, with boats lining the dock and one boat going through the water. In the background the sun clears through the skies with a silhouette of the hills in the background
Bristol Harbour with the sun setting

This summer we have witnessed record-breaking hot weather in the UK. We saw the first red weather warning for extreme heat, with temperatures reaching record high of 36 degrees locally. Throughout the last week we had another official amber warning of extreme heat with temperatures consistently in the mid-30s.

Heatwaves are becoming more frequent and intense, creating unique challenges for cities such as Bristol. Urban heat risks affect everything from health to the environment, transport to telecommunications, as well as creating increased demand for cool places.

Bristol is responding to these challenges through innovation. After becoming the first city in the UK to declare climate and ecological emergencies, we are leading the way in decarbonising our city, reducing Bristol’s emissions by over 40% since 2005. Keep Bristol Cool is the next pioneering tool to help our city become more climate resilient.

Keep Bristol Cool

Keep Bristol Cool is our new mapping tool that highlights which areas of our city are most vulnerable to extreme heat.

The mapping tool was made possible by the UK Climate Resilience Programme and Met Office Urban Climate Service team.

We are the first city in the UK to develop an online tool of this kind, using data on current heat vulnerability and climate change to explore where heatwaves could have the biggest impact on people’s health and wellbeing.

The tool allows users to explore how heat vulnerability varies from neighbourhood to neighbourhood by bringing together information on population, homes, and local environment. Climate maps explore how the number of warm nights and hot days are predicted to change over the next twenty years and beyond.

We’ve worked to refine this tool to see how it could help protect vulnerable people during heatwaves, support the development of green infrastructure strategies, make homes less likely to overheat, and aid the longer-term growth and regeneration of the city.

The image shows the Keep Bristol Cool Mapping Tool, the image on the left shows the wards of Bristol with different shades of red used as the key for the different figures. On the right the text reads Heat Vulnerability Index, A combination of Age, Deprivation, Indoor and Outdoor heat vulnerability factors. Dark red very high risk for Bristol 211-263, less dark red High risk for Bristol 158-210, lesser red, low risk for Bristol 53-105, very low risk for Bristol 1-52.
The new Keep Bristol Cool mapping tool

Innovating resilience

The mapping tool is a key step in Bristol’s resilience journey. A framework will follow that builds on the commitments set out in the One City Climate Strategy to become a climate resilient city by 2030: Setting out a programme of work that builds our resilience to higher temperatures and heatwaves across key areas including city planning, emergency planning, housing and the natural environment.

Working together

To reach our climate goals by 2030 and to safeguard the city against extreme heat, our city needs to work together. The Keep Bristol Cool mapping tool will offer service-providers, businesses and organisations across the city the opportunity to use this tool to help with their future planning.

We want to share this work and approach with other cities in the UK, we will work with closely with colleagues at the Local Government Association City and Regions board, improving the resilience of the UK to deal with extreme weather events and long-term trends in our city planning.

Bristol Climate Action

This year’s record-breaking temperatures have made many of us feel more anxious about the climate and ecological emergencies that we face. There are examples of Bristol residents who are making changes to their lives On Bristol Climate Hub, take a look and learn about their inspiring stories.

You can also donate to the Tree Crowd Funder – to help us double Bristol’s tree canopy – which will provide valuable shade in years to come.