The start of a new decade sees Nottingham City Council declaring a climate emergency and urging others to help it meet its ambitious target to be carbon neutral by 2028.
The council has long led the way on environmental innovation; from galvanising councils around the Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change twenty years ago to investing in one of the most sustainable public transport systems in the country and bringing green energy to many homes. It recently became The Guardian’s Climate Champion of the Year and overall winner of its Public Service Awards.
Following the launch of the citywide charter for sustainable carbon neutrality through the Green Partnership, the Council is now it is setting out a plan of action to help take the city towards carbon neutrality. This takes the same aim of addressing one of our most pressing environmental and climate challenges in a way that benefits the city and residents, improves quality of life and ensures nobody is excluded from the progress it will bring. In particular, Nottingham wants to develop and maximise the opportunities for local jobs and retaining the value of what’s need to be done within the city. Efforts are focused on five key areas:
- Transport – Building on the city’s successful efforts so far to provide high-quality green public transport and to encourage take-up of low and no-emission vehicles, options include exploring switching freight to electric vehicles in the city centre, introducing green number plates to identify low-emission vehicles and working with local employers to reduce the need for travel in the city through home-working and technological solutions
- The built environment – Adding to the 40,000 energy efficiency measures already in local homes and the roll-out of the pioneering Energiesprong scheme to create net zero carbon homes, the plan proposes to make use of untapped heat from water in disused local mines, investigate ways to ensure new buildings have the highest possible sustainability features and aim to reach high energy efficiency standards for homes on council land
- Energy generation – Going beyond the huge installation programme of solar panels on council buildings and homes and the council’s energy from waste operation by looking into anaerobic digestion, maximising the use of heat pumps that use water, air and the ground to heat our buildings and the possibility of expanding the city’s district heating network
- Waste and water – Maximising the potential of the city’s waste disposal arrangements, which see over 90% reused, recycled, composted or used for energy recovery. This could include finding ways to eliminate the 7% of waste going to landfill, developing repair and reuse facilities, workshops and skill shares across the city and improving water efficiency by harvesting rainwater for example
- Consumption – Increasing local food production while reducing food waste and consumption of high carbon foods, by making city events more carbon neutral and tourism more sustainable, increasing the range of edible plants in public spaces and encouraging community gardens and hubs to grow and share food.
The council is also committed to planting up to 50,000 new trees by the end of 2023 and creating bee-friendly habitats in every ward, which will help to offset carbon emissions.
On Monday January 13th, City Council Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Energy and Sustainability, Cllr Sally Longford, will formally declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency, adopt the city’s Green Charter for all local residents and businesses to sign up to and launch the consultation into the council’s own action plan.
A citywide consultation on the action plan will open Monday January 20th and close the 15th March. There will be opportunity to engage through an online survey or in person with events held across the city. More details will be published soon. To register your interest and find out more, please visit www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/cn2028.
Cllr Longford said: “Nottingham City Council has responded to the climate and environmental crisis by setting an ambition to become the first carbon neutral city in the UK by 2028. At the heart of our vision is an approach that not only positively addresses wider environmental challenges, but improves quality of life and builds a new form of clean growth for our economy through a green industrial revolution.
“We all have a role to play in this, but we all have something to gain by finding more sustainable ways to live and work. Whilst we rightly celebrate the success that Nottingham has had, we know this is only the beginning. Together with city partners, we will be creating new Climate Change and Energy plans for the next decade, taking forward the ambitions of a locally responsible global city and turn words into actions. This will bring benefits such as reducing fuel poverty, improving the natural environment and air quality and providing sustainable jobs for the future.”