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Wind Turbine at Avonmouth and Severnside

Zero Carbon, Waste and Energy

To succeed, modern cities must tackle the global challenge of the climate change at a local level. As the UK’s only European Green Capital in 2015 and the first UK local authority to declare both Climate and Ecological Emergencies, Bristol is already a leading sustainable city.

Bristol is one of the leading UK centres for sustainable development and environmental technology. It is a diverse and high-value sector with businesses ranging from start-ups, through to cutting-edge renewable energy manufacturing and design companies. Moving to a low-carbon economy has huge potential to create jobs, develop skills and increase community resilience and energy security.

As moves towards a sustainable economy accelerate over the next decade, so will investment in green building retrofit, renewable energy, high-value green technologies in energy management, control systems and materials design, with increased skills training for green construction and engineering careers.

  • Waste and water provide 5,400 jobs in the West of England, and 1,900 in Bristol
  • To become carbon neutral Bristol would need 10,000 person years of work, in low carbon and construction
  • Bristol’s construction sector employs 12,000 in 2,045 enterprises


Bristol is already leading the field in sustainable development, internationally and nationally, and is well-placed for the transition to a low-carbon economy. Home to leading environmental and ethical organisations such as the Soil Association, Triodos Bank and Sustrans, the region benefits from a myriad renewable energy businesses, local authorities and NGOs committed to green infrastructure development, universities developing breakthrough research, and social enterprises delivering first-class working practices.

Awarded European Green Capital in 2015 – the first UK city to be awarded this prestigious title – Bristol has long focused on sustainable practices and protecting the environment. It is the UK’s First Cycling City, will pilot ULEV technologies for buses and commercial car and van fleets, and is home to multiple wind and solar energy generation facilities.

Two cyclists on the road in Bristol

Importance to the city

Reducing energy usage and waste and responding to climate emergency are key issues for Bristol.  Not only were we the first city to declare a climate emergency but we have developed ambitious, partnership based strategies to take action, including the One City Climate Strategy 2020.

The city is already home to a host of environmentally conscious and green companies and organisations, at the cutting edge of low-carbon technology:

  • A world-class marine energy cluster, including Siemens Marine Current Turbines, Alstom Tidal Generation, Atlantis Resources and advisory companies.
  • Waste management and energy-from-waste businesses, a major national cluster, including Geneco, New Earth Solutions, May Gurney, SITA, Viridor, Augean, DPS, Sims Metal, Siniat and Avon Power.
  • Non government organisations such as the Soil Association, Centre for Sustainable Energy, Resource Futures, Sustrans, Environment Agency national headquarters, and DEFRA’s national biodiversity and conservation team.

Many of these organisations are part of the largest city environment network in Europe – the Bristol Green Capital Partnership which has over 1,000 member organisations from public, private and voluntary sectors.


Solar panels and wind turbines

City support

Building on the award and profile of 2015 European Green Capital of the year, Bristol has sought to place sustainability at the heart of its practices and development across sectors, infrastructure and future city development. This can be seen in the One City Climate Strategy and One City Plan.

Brandon Hill - Cabot Tower panoramic view with trees and buildings

Sector voice

“We want to see Portbury Avonmouth Severnside realising its potential as an exemplar for greener, smarter business; and a driving force supporting Bristol’s journey towards the Circular Economy; and providing fulfilling careers for the many people working across the area.”

Kate Royston MBA MSc, Director, SevernNet 

Image of Kate Royston

Who’s here

Here’s some examples of companies who are already driving the sector in Bristol.

Find more in the wider region Invest Bristol and Bath

Severnside aerial view

Contact the team

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