Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) declared a Climate and Biodiversity Emergency in December 2018 alongside an ambition for the city to be carbon neutral by 2030.
The council’s corporate plan, Our plan 2020 to 2023 – a fairer city, a sustainable future, sets out a series of priorities, including to take all action required to make our city carbon neutral by 2030 (CN2030).
This programme is our response to the climate and biodiversity emergency. It sets the direction for action on climate change by the council, partners and residents across the city for the next decade.
It focuses on social justice and future generations alongside rapid decarbonisation.
This programme sets out clear actions and interventions required on the path to net zero emissions, starting immediately.
In December 2019, Policy and Resources Committee approved the establishment of the cross-party 2030 Carbon Neutral Member Working Group to oversee the creation and delivery of a Carbon Neutral Programme to help the city to transition to carbon neutrality by 2030.
Foreword by leader of Brighton & Hove City Council, Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty
The creation of this carbon neutral programme is a monumental development, setting out the ways we will combat the climate crisis in our city.
This comes after we declared a climate and biodiversity emergency in 2018 and extensive consultation on how our city can adapt for the better, through the democratic debate at our Climate and Youth Assemblies.
Climate change is causing devastating damage across the globe, destroying habitats and driving many species to extinction.
The human population is suffering too, with more frequent extreme weather events and toxic air. We cannot sit back and let this happen.
So we’re not. We are grasping the opportunity with both hands, taking ambitious action with residents and partners across the city, to reach the target of a carbon neutral city by 2030.
This journey will not be an easy one, but it is one the city needs to take to protect the environment now and for future generations.
It is clear already that many in our city are passionate about tackling climate change through the creation of innovative projects across many different fields.
We want to build on Brighton & Hove’s achievements, like becoming the first city in the UK to win the Gold Sustainable Food City Award last year and set an example for the systematic change that needs to happen.
I believe that this programme of work is a very important step in this journey, and I’m excited to work with residents and organisations across the city on the projects outlined in our carbon neutral programme, for a sustainable future for Brighton & Hove.
Climate action for all residents
We believe that the city can only achieve its carbon neutral ambitions with all city organisations, businesses, communities, residents and visitors working together to find solutions for the challenges we face.
Central to the city’s ambition is taking a joined-up approach to delivering projects and initiatives that:
- protect and promote our environment
- facilitate behaviour change
- support city resilience to the impacts of climate change
- nurture the skills and opportunities we need to help our economy grow and prosper
The council’s response to the serious challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic highlights the need for a green recovery and demonstrates how we can work together across the city at all levels.
It's particularly important that climate action is fair and inclusive and ensures that all residents have an opportunity to participate.
Climate change impacts different sections of society differently and the impacts of climate change could make existing inequalities worse within the city.
The Coronavirus pandemic has highlighted inequalities, like poor housing and overcrowded conditions, making self-isolation impossible, and cold damp homes affecting people’s health and resilience.
The council is working hard to reduce its own corporate carbon emissions, but in total these contribute less than 2% of the city’s emissions.
The carbon neutral 2030 target is a city-wide one and needs participation from residents, schools, businesses and institutions across the city.
We have engaged with the city at many levels through the climate assembly, the Youth Climate Assembly, city-wide partnerships, behaviour change campaigns, formal consultations and support for community action.
Individual projects within the 2030 Carbon Neutral programme will do their own consultations and equalities impact assessments, if needed.
Working across our region
To be successful, this programme needs participation and collaboration with many stakeholders and partnerships across the city, as well as engaging Brighton & Hove’s residents.
Action is required at all levels: international, national and local.
As a leading city, Brighton & Hove develops solutions and shares good practice with regional partners and other cities.
For example, Brighton & Hove City Council is lead partner in The Living Coast UNESCO Biosphere, which is the UK’s only urban biosphere reserve that contributes to sustainable development projects that also protect and conserve the natural environment.
Shared learning locally, regionally, nationally and globally across the world network of biospheres is a key objective of this partnership.
Working with Greater Brighton, Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, Transport for the South East and the Greater South East Energy Hub is key to delivering programmes to reduce carbon in our infrastructure and economy at the rate and scale we need, including where we need to secure support from government.
We work with key partners including the local universities, electricity and gas companies, The Living Coast Biosphere, and the Sussex Local Nature Partnership to create projects that will accelerate progress on climate action and build green skills and jobs.