April 2019: The Mayor's View

March 27 2019

Saving the planet has to be more than just a mug's game

Bristol is a city famous for leading the way on environmental issues, so I am pleased that the council has recently taken positive steps to improve our sustainability and reduce our impact on the environment.
At City Hall, we’re taking action to reduce single-use plastics and promote sustainable alternatives. Hot drinks will no longer be sold in single-use cups, which means staff will have to bring their own re-usable cups and visitors will be served drinks in ceramic mugs. These small changes can have a positive impact.
It is estimated that more than 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are used in the UK each year. Due to difficulties in separating the plastic lining from these cups, only 1% of this amount is ever recycled. The vast majority find their way to landfill with a further 500,000 ending up as litter every day. The environmental impact of this is significant and affects us all.
This is one of a number of changes that will reduce single-use plastics in council-run outlets and buildings.
We know that as a council we need to lead by example and bring the whole city with us.
So it was great to also announce we have also achieved our target to reduce carbon emissions from its direct activities by 65% by 2020.
Thanks to making our buildings more energy efficient, investing in renewable energy infrastructure such as wind turbines and solar panels, electrifying the council’s fleet of vehicles and upgrades to street lighting across the city, we’ve reached our target two years early.
The overall reduction of carbon on the national grid, through increased national renewable energy generation, has also played a major part in this reduction.
We achieved this with a 71% reduction of carbon emissions in 2017/18 (against a 2005 baseline). The council will soon be proposing a new, ambitious, target to cut even more carbon emissions from its direct activities.
This is the second time the council has hit its carbon reduction target ahead of schedule and is a clear marker for our continued commitment to build a carbon neutral Bristol.
I am incredibly proud of our energy projects and our ever growing reputation as a leading energy city. I’d like to thank officers across a number of teams for all their hard work in achieving this target and for continuing to strive for further carbon reductions.
This is only the beginning of what we hope to achieve alongside partners in Bristol and
 to continue in our position as a leading sustainable city.