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Bristol is leading by example in taking action on climate change. We are actively undertaking and promoting action to become a carbon neutral and climate resilient city – including investment in the low carbon sector. We all need to radically rethink how we live, work and invest in the city. As a city that leads on responsible production and consumption, we can develop new business models centred on sustainable consumption, reducing waste and developing a circular economy.

Bristol has a long history of climate action, building up its own capacity and capability, investing nearly £100million in low carbon projects, with support from the European Investment Bank. We are proud of the fact that Bristol was the first UK city to declare a climate emergency. We have set goals to become carbon neutral and climate resilient by 2030 which are outlined in our One City Climate Strategy (February 2020). But, to achieve the scale and pace of change, we need to innovate.

  • Committed to becoming carbon neutral and climate resilient by 2030
  • Take action on climate change to become a fair, healthy and sustainable city for all


We have an exciting opportunity to address the challenge of climate change while delivering new homes, reducing inequalities, and creating a city with more green spaces, places for our children to play, cleaner air, jobs and opportunities for all.

The Bristol One City Climate Strategy is a call to action, set across 10 key themes.

The strategy sets out the measures and investment needed in sustainable infrastructure and services in the city.

There is huge potential for investment in both sustainable infrastructure, the decarbonisation of businesses and private homes and sustainable transport, either by the City Leap Programme, or other private sector investment vehicles.

Measure No. of units Investment (£m)
Heating networks 68,000 buildings £1,950m
Individual building heat pumps 96,000 buildings £580m
Insulation retrofit 73,000 buildings £650m
Roof-top solar PV 350 MW up to £625m
EV charging infrastructure For 120,000 vehicles £175m
Sustainability infographic

Avonmouth Severnside and Portbury Circular Economy

A step-by-step green action plan is being developed to decarbonise industries in and around Bristol Port, covering the areas of Portbury, Avonmouth and Severnside. The plan looks for opportunities to make firms more energy efficient, using cleaner, greener fuels. The actions encourage the use of heat networks and other green technologies and in the industries where it isn’t possible to completely stop generating carbon, carbon capture technologies will be considered.
A quarterly circular economy forum convened by SevernNet, with support from Bristol Port, brings together businesses across different industrial sectors and other stakeholders to share knowledge and expertise, and provides a platform to discuss resource flows and encourage adoption of circular economy practices.

The area is already home to many leading energy and materials companies, such as GENeco, Accolade Wines, Etex Performance Systems and Suez Energy Recovery Centre.

Strategic Alignments

To ensure plans are values led, the development plans for transport sit within wider strategic aims including the One City Economic Recovery and Renewal Strategy. This project aligns with our ambitions to make the city centre a key destination for work, leisure, tourism and investment, key to our sustainable development goals.

One City

Clean Air Zone

Clean air is our absolute priority. And clean air starts at home. By working together, we can achieve a cleaner, safer Bristol for everyone. Building on the changes in working and travelling patterns during COVID-19, our approach to clean air focuses on creating and promoting effective sustainable travel options for people and businesses as well as having a Clean Air Zone.

Focused on the city centre, a charging zone has been implemented for older, more polluting vehicles, with both commercial and private cars affected. This will create additional demand for electric vehicles and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Strategic Alignments

Business and Investment

SDG: 8.4, 9.2, 9.4, 12.7, 6.3, 8.4, 12.4, 12.6, 12.7, 14.1, 14.2, 15.1, 15.2, 15.9

Making the city centre a key destination for work, leisure, tourism and investment
SDG: 5.3, 11.2, 11.3, 11.7

Accelerate infrastructure investment to create the conditions for equitable and sustainable growth SDG: 9.1, 11.2

Graphic showing a mixture of sustainable transport such as bicycles, buses and cars

Sustainable Food City

The food system is responsible for around 30-40 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

For many years Bristol has been committed to being a sustainable food city, and in 2021 it became the second city in the UK to achieve Gold Sustainable Food City status.

Such an accolade has opened the door on a decade of change, placing food firmly on the agenda as we build a diverse, inclusive and resilient food community that can make real change by 2030.

Bristolians across the city got involved with the ‘Bristol Bites Back Better’ campaign, using and sharing resources to make it easier for us all to understand why and how we can support local, reduce food waste, cook and grow food for better health and wellbeing, and grow Bristol’s food movement.

Becoming a Gold Sustainable Food City is aligned with Bristol’s One City Plan.

Strategic Alignments

Support business investment in the green/eco/biodiversity sector, including green/eco innovation and technology SDG: 8.4, 9.2, 9.4, 12.7

Image of a heart shaped covered in soil in hands


City Leap

City Leap is a transformative project to build a city-wide energy system – representing a huge step towards a cleaner, greener Bristol. It represents a world first, game-changing approach towards decarbonisation at city-scale. Beginning in 2023, this 20-year joint venture partnership between Bristol City Council, Ameresco and Vattenfall Heat UK will enable the delivery of over £1billion of investment into Bristol’s energy system.

During the first five years of the partnership, at least £424million will be invested in a range of large infrastructure projects including the significant expansion of Bristol’s award-winning Heat Network, providing local businesses and residents with reliable, affordable heat from sustainable sources. Solar panels and low carbon heating systems will be installed in local schools, and the council’s social housing will be made more energy efficient.

As well as delivering 140,000 tonnes of carbon savings, Bristol City Leap will deliver a minimum of £61.5million of social value to the city over five years including 1000 new jobs, apprenticeships and work placements, and a new Community Energy Development fund worth £1.5million.

Mission Net Zero

City Leap represents a highly significant step towards Bristol becoming carbon neutral. Bristol’s Mission Net Zero programme is being shaped to progress the city further towards this target.

Mission Net Zero is designed to create an enabling environment focusing on 3 key areas:

  • Driving and identifying demand for services and infrastructure to achieve net zero
  • Enabling finance to be in place to respond to it
  • Helping ensure that skills and resources are in place to deliver.

All of these elements must be underpinned by sound data to support effective decision making.

We have secured £1.5m euros from the European Union Cities Mission, through its NetZeroCities Pilot Cities Programme, to create a Net Zero Investment Co-Innovation Lab. The Lab is bringing Bristol City Council and a range of partners together to test new climate finance mechanisms to accelerate investment in climate action. The funding also enables Bristol to share its learnings with other cities, leading to an accelerated transition towards climate neutrality across Europe.

Bristol has also received £5m from the Innovate UK Net Zero Living Pathfinder Places Programme to accelerate progress towards meeting national emissions targets. Funding is helping three communities in the city to plan the climate action they want in their neighbourhoods and how to secure money to take these actions forward. It is also supporting the development of a strategic climate investment plan for the West of England to help direct investment into a suite of projects that will reduce carbon emissions. The plan will include targeted support for small businesses and people wanting to work on these projects – creating jobs and providing training for local people.

Strategic Alignments

Support action on climate change and ecological recovery through businesses development

SDG: 8.4, 9.2, 9.4, 12.7

SDG: 6.3, 8.4, 12.4, 12.6, 12.7, 14.1, 14.2, 15.1, 15.2, 15.9

SDG: 2.4, 6.3, 8.4, 12.2, 14.1, 15.1, 15.2, 15.5, 15.6, 15.9

Image of windfarm with wind turbineand solar panels

Bristol Waste

Bristol Waste’s goal is to help all communities recycle more, throw away less and waste nothing. In partnership with the council it runs recycling centres and a commercial waste service, and provides workplace services such as cleaning and security. Any surplus generated is reinvested back into Bristol so the whole community can share in it’s success.

In 2023, Bristol retained its position as the number one core city in England for recycling for the eighth successive year, with over 71,000 tonnes of waste recycled and 50,000 items diverted through reuse schemes. In addition, 21.9million refuse and recycling collections were made over the year, and over 800 miles of streets were cleaned every week and that year, Bristol Waste gave £30m back to the city in social value.

Strategic Alignments

Support business investment in the green/ circular economy /biodiversity sector

SDG: 8.4, 9.2, 9.4, 12.7

Increase and improve the green and low-carbon skills offer

SDG: 4.3, 4.4, 4.7, 8.4, 12.8

Credit: Bristol Wasterecycling centre showing crushed up cans and plastics

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