Bristol the Green Capital – A Year Down the Line

The Green Capital - BristolAs of Tuesday 9th February Bristol handed over the title of European Green Capital to Ljubljana in Slovenia. What a year it has been for Bristol pushing forward with its plans to demonstrate what more of us should be doing to help benefit the planet.

This time last year, we looked at what Bristol had plans for its year as the Green Capital, so we saw fit that we find out a bit more about what they have achieved.

Looking Back

The Green Capital award has brought communities together all over Bristol, with over 200 environmental projects, inspired 100,000 + hours of voluntary work on green topics and got 30,000 children involved through school programmes. Bristol have implemented and begun planning for a number of schemes and programmes that will make the city a greener and more sustainable place; but let’s take a look at a few things that have been done for each of the focus areas.

Bristol had five key areas that they would like to focus on during 2015:

  • Transport
  • Resources
  • Energy
  • Food
  • Nature

Transport

The Good Transport Plan aims to make walking, cycling and using public transport a norm in the city. A series of objectives have been put in place to create a simple, well-connected and reliable transport network around the city.

In addition to this, a £7 million grant has been awarded to help boost the number of Ultra Low Emissions Vehicles (ULEVs) in the entire West of England. This grant, which will benefit four authorities, will allow them to convert 20 – 25% of their light vehicles to ULEVS with the result of reducing fuel expenditure and lessening carbon emissions.

Resources

Bristol was keen to promote the ideas of reuse, recycle, and reduce food waste. This is a challenge faced by villages, towns and cities all over the UK but Bristol have managed to put a few systems in place to help with these.

The Bristol Reuse Network brings together charities, social enterprises and sole traders who all divert ‘waste’ so that it can be reused for creative activities. Similarly the Bristol Food Policy Council work to create a sustainable food strategy including franchises like FareShare which redistributes food from the food industry to vulnerable people.

Energy

Bristol City Council has been pioneering sustainable energy projects throughout the year, first of which is that Bristol will have the UK’s first industrial sized wind turbine farm.

A specific focus has been set to help benefit people’s homes with insulating and cladding being added to council homes; as well as this, the city has already commenced on the first phase of a £47 million investment which will provide solar energy to council homes.

Food

Even though food is not one of the criteria for the European Green Capital award, Bristol decided to include it as a main priority as it feels like food is a significant part of a green and sustainable city.

Bristol has produced a Good Food Plan which focuses on a number of food priorities including: promoting healthy, affordable & sustainable food to the public; encouraging healthy eating in schools and reducing wasted food.

Some of these objectives have been achieved by introducing the Bristol Food Connections Festival, a ‘Big Picnic’ project encouraging schools to grow plants, Bristol Fish Project exploring the viability of community-supported aquaponics, pop-up cookery demonstrations and much more.

Nature

Bristol aimed to become a world-leading nature rich city, and throughout the year the resident Green Capital blogger shared tips to start growing your own food and how to find and get involved with community projects which included One Tree Per Child which formed part of an overall scheme to help increase tree coverage.

In addition, Bristol Parkhive was developed as a partnership between UWE and Bristol Parks Forum to help support and make the most of Bristol’s parks and green spaces.

We have only covered a tiny aspect of what has been achieved throughout the year, you can find out more about the Bristol Method on their website.

Looking Forward

Even though the title has been handed over there is no stopping the city. The ‘It doesn’t stop here’ campaign aims to help members of the public to continue embracing what they have learnt and gained throughout 2015 and continue pushing towards a more sustainable future for the city; as well as demonstrating to other communities locally, nationally and internationally how even small changes can have a positive impact.

As part of this campaign there are plans for a permanent exhibition at the M Shed about the Bristol’s Green Capital year are in the process of being developed. This exhibition will capture many of the highlights of 2015.

Andrew Garrard, Chair of Bristol 2015 has been quoted:

“Tens of thousands of people have pledged to carry forward the ideas and ambitions generated over the past 12 months. I hope that this new awareness campaign will keep sustainable issues firmly in the public’s mind so we can continue working to establish a happier, healthier city.”

With many achievements already under its belt, Bristol looks set to continue its hard work and pushing for a more sustainable future.

Looking Forward for Green Spinnaker

It is exciting to see how one city can do so much to help towards creating a greener society, and we are thrilled that Bristol have been working hard to be proud winners of the Green Capital award which will benefit the new owners of our Smarts Quarter development.

To keep updated with our latest developments register interest today.