Nottingham City Council’s Deputy Leader and sustainability boss are attending COP26 today to share Nottingham’s success in attracting green investment to the city and learn lessons from others around the world.

The pivotal conference underway in Glasgow is bringing world leaders together to discuss how to collectively address the climate emergency and keep global temperature increases to less than 1.5C.

COP26 comes as the City Council continues towards it target for Nottingham to become the first carbon neutral city in the UK by 2028, with a wide-ranging programme of green improvements and investment across the city.

Nottingham City Council’s Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Energy, Environment and Waste Services Cllr Sally Longford and Director of Carbon Reduction, Energy and Sustainability Wayne Bexton are attending the event to outline some of the key successes Nottingham has had in reducing its CO2 emissions – a 52.3% fall since 2005, the highest per capita fall of any UK core city. They will also be listening to other leaders in the field to understand what more can be done to improve and accelerate the city’s green efforts.

Wayne will be presenting to delegates how Nottingham has made investment in net zero viable and discussing some of the innovative technologies deployed in Nottingham which make it the most sustainable city in the UK.

The council has attracted around £22m in green funding to the city for a range of schemes that have improved the energy efficiency and carbon emissions of thousands of homes. The council is also investing in greening its fleet of vehicles, with 45% of the fleet now ULEV. The Parking, Fleet & Transport Operations Team has recently won awards for the Clean Fleet Van Operator of the Year in the Motor Transport Awards 2021, and the Fleet Electrification Strategy of the Year at the Electric Vehicle Innovation and Excellence Awards 2021.

The council has also rolled out solar PV across a wide portfolio within the city, including commercial sites, partner sites, and the council’s own estate. Up to July 2021, this is estimated to have reduced emissions by 3,567 tCO2e and saved 8,174MWh since installation.

The council has also successfully bid for Government grants including £161m of Transforming Cities funding for transport projects, many of which aim to reduce reliance on the car and offer more sustainable alternatives. This adds to a transport system already the envy of other cities, with electric trams, a large fleet of biogas and electric buses, electric taxis, e-scooters and improved facilities for pedestrians and cyclists.

Many of the improvements already carried out, plans for the future and advice on how people can do their bit to contribute towards Nottingham becoming carbon neutral are outlined in a special green edition of the Arrow.

Cllr Longford said: “I’m proud to be representing Nottingham at COP26 which is such an important moment in the world’s response to the climate emergency.

“I think we would all agree that the desired outcome for COP would be that agreement is reached to work together internationally to secure global net-zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach. But we also need to adapt to protect communities and natural habitats, and to mobilise finance, particularly for communities at the greatest threat from the effects of climate change.

“We have a lot to tell others about the amazing work we are already doing in Nottingham to help us reach our goal to be a carbon neutral city by 2028. We will also be finding out what further steps we can take on our just transition towards carbon neutrality while improving the lives of our residents.

“We need Government, private investment and other stakeholders to support our vital work. We have already had demonstrator projects in the city, but they need to be scaled up, creating jobs and achieving a just transition to a low carbon economy, where our more deprived communities can benefit from warmer homes, affordable energy and access to clean modes of transport.  We need the Government to take action, and truly commit to a net zero-carbon future.”