Nottingham could become the first carbon neutral city in the UK after the City Council set itself an ambitious target to achieve this by 2028.
The city has already met its Energy Strategy target early — a 26% reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 2020 — and reduced emissions by 39% since 2005. Nottingham is also on track to meet its 2020 target of 20% of energy generation from low carbon sources, due to a combination of a reduction in the City’s energy demand and its renewable energy projects programme. The council has led the way to a more sustainable and green city by:
- Signing the Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change in 2000 with a follow up in 2011
- Investing in one of the UK’s largest electric bus fleets as well as biogas and retrofitted buses
- Developing and expanding the tram network, running on electricity from renewable sources
- Improving cycling facilities, including bike hubs and a cycle hire scheme and investing in cycle corridors
- Introducing the Workplace Parking Levy — tackling congestion and containing traffic growth, while generating funds to invest in public transport
- Installing solar panels on 4500 domestic properties across the city
- Working on innovative projects including our solar vehicle to grid project
- Retrofitting 400 homes with energy efficient measures through the REMOURBAN and Green HousiNG Project.
However, the council is ambitious to do more within the next 12 years, in light of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2018 Special Report on Global Warming, which warned of the dire consequences of a 1.5 degree rise in global temperatures.
Portfolio Holder for Energy & Environment, Cllr Sally Longford, said: “We have been making good progress for a long time, but it is incumbent on us to do more. We are already seeing the effects of climate change with 650 extra deaths nationally last year because of the heat wave. In Nottingham we have 10,000 properties that are vulnerable to surface water flooding which will increase as the effects of climate change worsen.
“We need a shift in the way we produce and use energy, more sustainable management of waste and ways to travel and to look at things like shortening supply chains by buying goods and services locally. We are looking at a range of schemes that involve innovative technology, such as installing large batteries that can store solar energy — initially at council premises but also exploring this for domestic properties too.”
“There will also be things we will be asking local people to do, to help us to achieve our aim of becoming a carbon neutral city by 2028 we’re sure that like us they will rise to the challenge.”
Scarlett Lee of local environmental pressure group Nottingham Extinction Rebellion welcomed the council’s move to become carbon neutral, saying: “It is essential for major cities such as Nottingham to declare a climate emergency, to put pressure on the Government and other cities to recognise the dire situation we are facing. That’s because it will be sowing seeds for a higher profile for Nottingham’s leading reputation and enhancing its future as a progressive, healthy, successful and compassionate city, and because without rapid and significant reductions in the burning of fossil fuels, we will bequeath a dying planet to our children.”