The Service Manager for Sustainable City and Climate Change introduced the item to Members and explained the progress that had been made on the key actions in the Mayor’s Climate Emergency Action Plan and the work undertaken to develop the Bristol City Council Climate Change Programme for consideration by Cabinet in November 2020.
· Strategic leadership is provided by the One City Environment Board (OCEB). This is now complimented by an independent Bristol Advisory Climate Change Committee (BACCC).
· The One City Climate Strategy is a key piece of work for the OCEB and provides a comprehensive assessment of the emissions and climate vulnerability of the City as well as setting out the strategy for a carbon neutral and climate resilient city.
· Promotion of the strategy and development of delivery plans had been delayed due to
Covid-19. However as the City moves from response to recovery phase there were now opportunities to re-open many of the conversations.
· A 3 year communication and engagement plan is being developed.
· The Council has an important role to lead by example where it can and so the Mayor had previously set a target for the Council to be carbon neutral by 2025 (scope 1 and 2 emissions). Officers said they are quantifying some of the details but good progress has been made in recent years by reducing them by 80%. Now however came the most difficult bit which was the last 20%.
The Chair thanked officers for the all information that had been provided. The following points were then discussed:
· A Member said that they had been provided with a lot of information, evidence and data at the meeting and at Members Briefings. He agreed with the plans for education and training but said he was slightly concerned about the One City Climate Strategy in that it appeared to be ‘lots of good sounding proposals but not so many actual commitments for action’. Was there a risk that some actions in the strategies would not be delivered and could officers provide firm assurance they would be? Officers said that the Mayors Action Plan was about responding to the emergency and enabling work to happen. Also, the One City Climate Strategy was a much longer-term document. There will also be a number of delivery plans, for example on housing and transport with specific projects.
· Members asked about the last 20% of carbon neutrality that officers had said was the hardest part to achieve. Did this mean that the City Council had already achieved an 80% reduction in the emissions? Officers said yes that was correct for our direct emissions (Scope 1&2) but it didn’t include procurement of goods and services or the Council’s Capital Programme which were not part of the 2025 target.
· Members asked if a data ‘dashboard’ had or would be developed for this work given it is such a collaborative piece of work? Officers said yes they were currently looking into creating one. Roughly speaking the current Government targets are for the UK to be carbon neutral in 30 years’ time for half of its emissions. But the Motion passed at Full Council was for the Council to try to achieve that 3 times as fast and 2 or 3 times as much, because it includes the indirect emissions not just the direct ones from energy, transport etc. So the job for Bristol was said to be 69-times bigger than the national target. The scale of the challenge and whether or not it can be achieved will partly depend on how quickly people can be mobilised to rapidly accelerate the action and turn them in specific interventions.
· The Government had announced billions of pounds of investment funding for retrofitting home grants and officers anticipate that there may be further announcements in the Autumn Statement. However officers want to ensure Bristol home owners and landlords are well placed to access the grants and the Bristol supply-chain is able to provide those services. However, officers said that even if say for arguments sake, Bristol residents were able to secure all of the billions of pounds of Government funding it would still not be enough funding to complete the work.
· Officers were asked to clarify the elected Member representation on the two key groups that were being discussed i.e. One City Environment Board (OCEB) and the Bristol Climate Advisory Committee (BCAC). It was said that councillors are not members of OCEB but it is currently co-chaired by Mayor and that there were no political representatives BCAC it was instead a grouping of academics, scientists and technical experts.
· Members asked about the climate change training that were referred to in the presentation slides and asked for the purpose of the training to be further clarified? Was it to explain the problems to people or to help with the solutions and should this be more outreach work with communities? Officers said that it would be aimed at colleagues and there were three layers to it 1) awareness and knowledge 2) solutions and approaches 3) leadership within the organisation and championing issues. It was agreed that due to the range of knowledge and experience that different councillors have Member training should be more bespoke in future. Officers said this was something that they wanted to discuss with Members because they were keen to design something that is useful, practical and provides the tools required.
· Members asked about the £3M in the Councils financial reserves that had been earmarked for the action plan and asked if it was possible that could now be taken away given the financial deficits the Council now faced? Officers said they were referring to the Council budget where this was allocated earlier in the year and that a proposal for cabinet in November was being developed.
The Chair commented on the amount of positive work that had been done. Officers were thanked for their time.