Brighton & Hove’s programme to reduce carbon emissions was discussed and voted through by councillors this week.
The plan sets the direction for action on climate change by the council, partners and residents across Brighton & Hove for the next decade, focussing on social justice and future generations alongside rapid decarbonisation to accelerate the city’s transition to carbon neutrality by 2030.
It was put before the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee, then the Policy & Resources Committee. Councillors voted on recommendations for how council climate action will be monitored going forward.
Focussing initially on the projects that the council will take a role in delivering in the period between now and 2023, the programme identifies a potential saving of nearly a third of the city’s carbon emissions by 2030.
As a council, we declared a Climate and Biodiversity Emergency in December 2018 and pledged to become a carbon neutral city by 2030.
To be able to reach this target, we needed to set out an ambitious and transformative programme of works across council services, setting out clear actions and interventions required on the path to net zero emissions, starting immediately.
A change in how we think about the climate
We have set the target of a carbon neutral city by 2030 and are making some ambitious plans for helping to reach that, and we need the help of those that live and work in the city to be able to get to that target.
To enable a city-wide approach, we are working with our partners including Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, Greater Brighton and The Living Coast Biosphere to help encourage those across Brighton & Hove to embrace a low-carbon approach and support a change in how we think about the climate.
For a truly inclusive plan it is vital that the planned climate action is fair and inclusive, as the opportunity to get involved in making Brighton & Hove carbon neutral is something that should be open to all our residents and visitors, creating a more diverse range of ideas and a hotbed of innovation.
Climate assembly recommendations
In late 2020, we held Brighton & Hove’s first ever citizens assembly on climate, where residents that were randomly selected by Sortition were asked the question: “How can we step up actions to reduce transport-related emissions in the city?”
The assembly was held virtually and around 50 residents took part. Over the five sessions the assembly members heard evidence, deliberated and developed recommendations for actions the council and wider city can take to become carbon neutral by 2030.
Sessions included presentations and workshops. The residents on the assembly had the opportunity to hear from engaging expert speakers and discussed the issues involved with facilitators, who made sure everyone had their voice heard.
Following the assembly, a report was prepared, with recommendations to the council about how best to reduce transport related carbon emissions.
The climate assembly recommendations have been considered in the creation of the Carbon Neutral Programme Plan, including the exploration of low traffic neighbourhoods and a liveable city centre, and will be picked up in more detail in plans such as the Local Transport Plan, due to be published later this year.
Only a monumental change will make a difference
Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty, leader of the council and co-chair of the Carbon Neutral Members Working Group, said: “This is an important step, as councillors set out the steps we will take on the climate crisis. This comes after extensive consultation on how our city works together, including through the democratic debate provided through our Climate and Youth Assemblies.
“Climate change is causing devastating damage across the country and globe and we know that only a monumental change in how we live our lives will make a difference.
“In Brighton & Hove, we are grasping the opportunity with both hands to take ambitious action and will work with partners across the city, to reach the target of a carbon neutral city by 2030.
“It is clear already that many in our city are passionate about tackling the climate and biodiversity emergency and making the city a greener place. I look forward to working with everyone on the steps outlined to achieve a carbon neutral Brighton & Hove.”
Councillor Nancy Platts, co-chair of the Carbon Neutral Members Working Group, said: “As a council we declared a climate and biodiversity emergency in 2018 and this is our next step in addressing that emergency and moving towards a city that embraces low-carbon lifestyles.
“We all have a part to play, from councillors and officials - to residents and visitors to our magnificent city, and if we all do our bit we can become a carbon neutral city by 2030.
“Our Carbon Neutral Programme Plan identifies the activities that the council will help deliver, but I’d like to encourage the people of Brighton & Hove to continue exploring innovative ways to cut carbon, as the people of Brighton & Hove are our greatest strength.”
You can also watch the videos from the climate assembly and see what assembly members had to say about their experience.