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Local leadership for sustainable communities

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Bristol City Council has played a key role in defining and shaping the local government response to climate change over recent years and in leading action in Bristol.

In the past year I have strengthened this commitment and my cabinet has adopted a Corporate Climate Change and Energy Security Framework which aims to double the carbon efficiency of the city by 2020.

This is a challenging target and that is why, as leader, I have taken overall responsibility for it but key executive members and directors are leading work in specific sectors, such as housing, transport and business. To translate strategy into delivery we have created a new service called Bristol Futures focusing on the low carbon and digital economy.

Urban Forum stages free events for councillors to boost awareness of opportunities for a low carbon future - see below

The new service brings together and strengthens our existing sustainability, economic development, regeneration, digital and European teams. We committed an additional revenue budget of £1m to support this work a year ago and have protected it in this year’s budget.

As part of leadership and to realise energy cost savings we are investing capital in our own estate. My cabinet has approved an initial energy investment plan of £23m which will install biomass boilers and photovoltaic arrays in schools, low energy street lights across the city and two 2 MW wind turbines in Avonmouth.


We are also developing larger scale plans to attract inward investment for energy efficiency and renewable energy across the city, cutting residents energy bills and creating hundreds of jobs. This is a long-term investment that will make savings in future years.

The strategic commitment by the council is only part of the story behind Bristol’s well-earned green reputation. Polls show that nearly 90% of Bristol’s citizens are concerned about climate change and many are taking action as individuals or communities. I am delighted that as part of our new Bristol Future’s programme we are supporting a host of exciting community initiatives on food, energy and a host of practical measures that will cut the city’s carbon footprint.

Bristol’s business are also investing in carbon reduction and I am delighted that property consultants GVA are due to publish a study which shows Bristol leading the way through the scale and pace of improvement in business sector emissions.

We are also home to a strong and dynamic environmental technology and services sector which the council has and is actively supporting to create the new generation of high value added, and sustainable, jobs. The council, community and businesses are part of the Bristol Green Capital Partnership - which brings together over 150 organisations who are acting to help make Bristol a low carbon city with a high quality of life.

We believe that Bristol has the leadership, partnership and resources to really be a sustainable, low carbon city. It is a challenging time, but it is in such times that local government leadership becomes critical to success.  

Barbara Janke, leader, Bristol City Council


In partnership with the Centre for Sustainable Energy and Sustainable Communities Excellence Network , Urban Forum is running free-to-attend ‘Low Carbon Councillor’ briefings designed to give councillors a firm understanding of the opportunities that exist to shape a low carbon future for their area that brings both economic and social rewards.

The events offer members:

  • a better understanding of the importance of bold leadership, inspiration, innovation, leadership, skills and knowledge in tackling climate change. increased awareness of the importance of creating green investment opportunities in the face of public spending cuts
  • improved understanding of how to integrate low carbon measures into existing local buildings, businesses and lifestyles
  • more confidence to take ownership of and drive forward projects centred on local ownership and management of low carbon assets in their area
  • five sessions, including inspirational examples of work led by other local authorities and individuals

NEXT DATES and Venues:

8 Feb: Bristol

14 Feb: GLA with London Energy Partnership

18 March: Barnsley MBC  

To book your place, email

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