Getting transport to net zero with 250 electric buses and 1,000 cycle hangars

June 24 2022

Last-MILE delivery services, rolling out 250 electric buses, and installing 1,000 cycle hangars will all be explored in Bristol’s plan to decarbonise transport.

Bristol City Council is aiming to get the city to net zero carbon emissions by 2030 to tackle climate change, and a big part of that push will be changing how people move around the city. 

According to the latest government data, a third of Bristol’s carbon emissions come from driving. Transport emissions in Bristol have reduced by less than 10% over the past decade, much slower than other sectors such as industry, commercial and domestic energy use. In 2019, 494,100 tonnes of carbon dioxide were emitted from Bristol’s transport network.

But by 2027 council bosses hope to have installed 1,000 cycle hangars and introduced 250 electric buses to Bristol. A ‘zero emission zone’ could be created in the city centre, covering the Old City, Broadmead, Cabot and Queen Square. Freight consolidation hubs could see deliveries initially sent to buildings outside the city centre, with the last mile of the delivery then made on a cargo bike or a small electric van.

In a recent cabinet report, Jacob Bryer, team manager of transport policy, bidding and strategic projects, said: “The transport sector is the largest source of emissions in the city and nationally. For the city to be carbon neutral by 2030, it’s estimated we will need a 40% reduction in vehicle miles and 90% of our vehicles will need to be ultra-low emission by 2030.”

Bristol City Council has received a government grant of £500,000. The money will be used to commission several studies looking at how Bristol can speed up plans to decarbonise the city’s transport network. Council transport planners would then work with the Department for Transport on how to roll out the schemes, making Bristol one of three pilot areas as a ‘Zero Emission Transport City’.

Mr Bryer added: “In our most deprived communities a significant proportion of residents cannot afford the costs associated with purchasing, operating and maintaining a vehicle. Promoting walking, cycling and public transport has been well evidenced to be hugely beneficial to health and wellbeing. This is particularly relevant in deprived communities with poor physical activity rates and ill health.”

A third of the grant will be spent studying how to decarbonise freight. A huge part of this is expected to be freight consolidation hubs, and the council is already backing one in Bristol. Green logistics service Zedify operates a hub in St Judes, and uses cargo bikes to deliver to businesses across the city centre. The company received a £100,000 grant from the council last year, and similar ‘last mile delivery’ services could soon be rolled out across the city.

by Alex Seabrook, Local Democracy Reporting Service

Clean Air Zone delay: Page 5