2015 – Bristol
Bristol is located in South West England and has a population of 441,300 (2011). It is England’s sixth and the United Kingdom’s eighth most populous city.
Bristol impressed the Jury with its investment plans for transport and energy. The city has committed a budget of €500m for transport improvements by 2015 and up to €300m for energy efficiency and renewable energy by 2020 (this includes a confirmed €100m ELENA investment in renewable energy). Carbon emissions have consistently reduced in Bristol since 2005, despite a growing economy. Bristol has the ambition of becoming a European hub for low-carbon industry with a target of 17,000 new jobs in creative, digital and low carbon sectors by 2030. Bristol demonstrated 4.7% growth in the green economy in 2012.
As well as being an efficient city with a growing green economy, Bristol is the UK’s greenest city, easily accessible with very good air quality. It has doubled the number of cyclists in recent years and is committed to doubling this number again by 2020 (based on 2010 baseline figures).
Bristol has great potential to act as a role model for UK, Europe and the world. An agreement negotiated by the city with the foreign office to promote the award across Europe and the world through the British Embassies has the potential to raise the profile of the Award. Bristol’s tag line “Laboratory for Change” is based on innovation, learning and leadership. Social media and the innovation lab, via live lab conferences, will be used to make Bristol available to Europe, and vice versa, while also reducing or entirely removing any carbon footprint.
The Jury concluded that Bristol shows a high level of achievement across the board. Bristol is an innovator in terms of the green economy, with a powerful communication strategy and the commitment and enthusiasm required to develop its role as a model for Europe.
Bristol has implemented a long term commitment to improving the environment in the city and has been working to reduce the city’s contribution to climate change since 2000 and it has developed and delivered a series of strategies and action plans in order to achieve this, such as the Bristol Climate Protection and Sustainable Energy Strategy and the Local Transport Plan to 2026, and active participation with citizens noise perception in the Quality of Life Survey.
In Bristol domestic energy use has already been reduced by 16 % (2005 to 2010), and the energy efficiency of housing has improved by 25 % (2000/2001 to 2011). As a signatory to the Covenant of Mayors in 2009, the city has set ambitious targets to reduce energy use by 30 % and CO2 emissions by 40 % by 2020 and 80 % by 2050 (from 2005 baseline). These targets have been incorporated in the city’s Climate change and Energy Security Framework, a Sustainable Energy Action Plan updated in 2012. Although Bristol has no statutory responsibility for managing the energy mix of the city, it is working to increase renewable energy generation under this framework.
For a short overview of Bristol as the European Green Capital 2015, view the winning cities leaflet here.
Bristol were also shortlisted for the 2014 competition cycle; view more information and their 2014 finalists video here.