Nottingham City Council has set out a plan for the city to become the UK’s first carbon-neutral city by 2028.
The council decided to set the new 2028 target after hitting its CO2 reduction target – a 26% reduction of emissions by 2020 – two years ahead of schedule.
Since 2005, Nottingham has reduced its overall carbon dioxide emissions by 39% and it is on track to meet its 2020 target of generating 20% of its energy from low carbon sources.
However, the council said that it felt compelled to go further to help the city lead the fight in limiting global warming to 1.5C by 2030.
Cllr Sally Longford, portfolio holder for energy and environment at Nottingham City Council, said: ‘We have been making good progress for a long time, but it is incumbent on us to do more.
‘We need a shift in the way we produce and use energy, more sustainable management of waste and ways to travel and to look at things like shortening supply chains by buying goods and services locally.
We are looking at a range of schemes that involve innovative technology, such as installing large batteries that can store solar energy – initially at council premises but also exploring this for domestic properties too.’
Since signing a declaration on climate change in 2000, Nottingham City Council has made substantial progress on implementing a wide-ranging low-carbon strategy.
Changes made by the council have included the modernisation of its public transport, community solar panel installation, retrofitting homes and exploring innovative energy-efficient technology.
The East Midlands city now has one of the UK’s largest electric bus fleets, a cycle hire scheme and bicycle hubs, as well as an expanded tram network running on 100% renewable energy.
The council previously introduced a Workplace Parking Levy to tackle traffic congestion, with all funds raised from the scheme going towards investment in the city’s public transport.
It has also installed solar panels on over 4500 domestic properties and retrofitted 400 homes in its council housing stock.
Longford confirmed that the council will be asking residents to further engage with its sustainability strategy as the city pushes for carbon neutrality.
Scarlett Lee of the environmental pressure group Extinction Rebellion welcomed the council’s move, saying: ‘It is essential for major cities such as Nottingham to declare a climate emergency, to put pressure on the government and other cities to recognise the dire situation we are facing.
‘[The plan] will be sowing seeds for a higher profile for Nottingham’s leading reputation and enhancing its future as a progressive, healthy, successful and compassionate city.’