Nottingham is on track to become the first carbon neutral city in the UK by 2028, the first review of its action plan shows.
Despite challenges due to the pandemic and pressures on the council’s finances, significant achievements have been made since the city’s Carbon Neutral 2028 Action Plan was published in June 2020. The 251-point plan covers a range of initiatives to cut carbon emissions across transport, the built environment, waste, water, energy generation and consumption. While initial progress on the action plan has been positive, local residents and businesses are being urged to get involved to see how they can help contribute to the ambitious goal which will improve the health and vitality of the city.
The latest Government figures show that the city produced 1.105m tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2019. Nottingham has reduced its overall CO2 emissions per person by 52.3% since 2005, which is the highest reduction of any UK core city. The first annual review for the Carbon Neutral Action Plan, released today, shows that successes have been achieved to continue the downward trend of CO2 emissions in the city across all the key themes of the action plan.
Much of Nottingham’s domestic housing stock poses a key challenge for the carbon neutral agenda. This area accounts for the largest proportion of CO2 emissions in the city, and many homes are typically poorly insulated and tend to use fossil fuels such as gas or coal for heating and cooking as they were built before the 1980s. The council has risen to the task to reduce emissions and has secured £24.5m of Government funding to make energy efficiency improvements to numerous domestic properties, such as installing solar panels on 650 homes for free and carrying out innovative whole-house retrofits of energy-saving measures.
In the transport sector, in the year up to July 2021, over 130 public electric vehicle (EV) charging points were installed across the city, including 81 at the Broad Marsh car park – the most for a single site in the UK . Many more installations are planned for the coming year. A growing number of vehicles in Nottingham are now low emission, as 30% of the Council-owned fleet and 46% of hackney carriage taxis are ULEV, and 30% of the city’s public buses run on either low carbon bio-gas or clean electricity.
To tackle waste in the city, between 2020 and 2021, Nottingham recycled, reused, or composted 23.9% of its domestic waste. However, only 7.1% of the city’s rubbish goes to landfill, as the remainder is incinerated and used to power over 5,000 homes and 200 businesses through the district heating network.
Nottingham has also progressed with actions aimed at removing CO2, including the council planting 14,500 trees with the help of Nottingham Green Guardian volunteers and local schools. Meanwhile, relaxed mowing schemes – where grasses and wildflowers can grow instead of being cut – have also helped to improve the natural biodiversity of the city.
Councillor Sally Longford, Deputy Leader for the council and Portfolio Holder for Energy, Environment and Waste Services, said: “We have achieved a lot in the first year of delivering the Carbon Neutral 2028 Action Plan, and I’m delighted to share the first annual review summary. We’re leading the charge towards carbon neutrality and have gathered real momentum across the key areas of the plan.”
“This is a city-wide target, so it’s really important that we instil a sustainable mindset across everyone who lives in, works in, and visits the city. We’ve had brilliant engagement with businesses, the universities, and citizens of Nottingham so far, and we will be building on our successes and overcoming our challenges as we move into the second year of delivery.
“The transition to being a carbon neutral city is an opportunity to permanently reduce inequalities in Nottingham. We are committed to helping less well-off residents in the city reduce their energy bills and feel the benefits of better health associated with warmer homes and cleaner air, all while reducing their carbon footprints.”
Wayne Bexton, Director of Carbon Reduction, Energy and Sustainability at Nottingham City Council, said: “I’m pleased we can share such a positive progress report on our carbon neutrality journey. The challenges of 2020 and 2021 have been difficult for everyone, but I’m proud that it has galvanised the commitment across the city to achieve our carbon reduction objectives and create a clean, green, and ambitious city with environmental credentials at its core.
“This report highlights some of our fantastic initiatives around retrofit, transport, and green infrastructure, but it crucially recognises the incredible partnerships we’ve formed across the city on this agenda.
“We were delighted to showcase some of our achievements at COP26 and to use the opportunity to build national and international collaborations that will ensure we utilise best practice to advance our commitment over the coming months.”
Nottingham residents and businesses can help play their part in a range of different ways – more information on the initiatives Nottingham City Council is currently running can be found online. If you want to have your say about Nottingham’s ambition to become carbon neutral by 2028, sign up to join one of the focus groups we’re running with Nottingham Trent University in February and March 2022.
Both the full Carbon Neutral 2028 Action Plan Review and the summary document can be found at https://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/cn2028.