City council makes rapid progress on climate actions

Brighton & Hove has made significant progress in acting on the climate and biodiversity emergencies, according to the latest assessment from the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).

It found that the council has understood the main risks and impacts of climate change and is taking action to adapt and reduce emissions. There was recognition of achievements, plans in place, and collaborative work with partners in the city.

CDP provides cities with a ‘score’ to guide them on where to go next and focus efforts to accelerate climate action. Brighton & Hove joined the project in 2019 as a disclosure participant. This was classed as a ‘D’ to acknowledge how the city had started the journey of understanding and reporting on climate impacts, with the CDP set to fully review Brighton & Hove’s work at a later date. 

This year the council submitted a full disclosure of all its climate activities for the first time and received an overall score of ‘B.’

CDP said:

“CDP is delighted to score Brighton & Hove City Council with a ‘B’ for its 2021 disclosure. The score marks an impressive improvement over a short period of time, and we look forward to our continued engagement with the city and its future plans.”

Next steps

The score helps to show how far we’ve come, gives useful pointers for next steps and provides a useful means to benchmark ourselves against other cities participating in the project. It shows Brighton & Hove is in the top half of cities reporting in Europe. 

In the next six months we’ll commission a Climate Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (CRVA) to take forward actions on climate adaptation. In Brighton & Hove this includes measures to combat surface-water flooding, building sea defences and protecting the city’s natural water source. 

Council leader Phélim Mac Cafferty said: 

“This is recognition that the city is on the right track in tackling climate change and that actions have picked up pace.

“It’s a brilliant achievement against the challenges the city has faced during the pandemic.  

“By submitting this work to independent examination, the council gets vital information to help identify and address gaps in our climate action planning, and we have never shied away from being honest about how far we have to go.

“The council is just one part of the picture when it comes to becoming carbon neutral by 2030 – to get there we need partners, businesses, organisations and residents on board, as well as stronger national action. 

“This CDP assessment is a real achievement, clearly demonstrating how much can be achieved even in a year and the efforts being put into this across the council.

“We’re looking forward to receiving more detailed feedback from CDP in the new year to guide us on the next steps of the journey. We’ll use the information to play our part in helping the city become carbon neutral by 2030.”

Councillor Nancy Platts, co-chair of the cross-party Carbon Neutral Member Working Group, said: 

“The CDP assessment is a way of demonstrating how our commitment is leading to real achievements on climate action, despite the huge challenges we’re facing as a result of the pandemic. There is still a long way to go to become carbon neutral by 2030, but through the Carbon Neutral Working Group we will continue to lead and support the council and wider city to take the necessary actions to tackle emissions and restore nature.

“It shows how we’re putting climate action at the forefront of everything we do, to create a better environment and more sustainable future for all.”

Making progress

The council’s plan of action is set out in the 2030 carbon neutral programme

Recent achievements and future plans include:

  • In 2019, the 400 solar panels on council housing avoided 145t of CO2 being emitted. A further 1,000 solar PV systems are planned to be installed on council homes by 2023.
  • A development underway of 42 new council homes in Victoria Road, Portslade are designed to be deconstructed at the end of their lifespan (not demolished) to extend the lifetime of construction materials and have maximum energy efficiency. They will host rooftop solar, ground source heat pumps, ‘living' green walls watered with recycled rainwater, and a landscaped communal garden.
  • New energy efficient streetlights will save around £500,000 a year and replacement lanterns are manufactured using up to 85% recycled materials.
  • Electric vehicle charging points installed across the city, including 200 residential lamp post chargers, 6 public rapid chargers, and 12 rapid taxi chargers. The 200 residential lamp post chargers are expected to save around 184 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
  • The council’s funding of Brighton & Hove Environmental Education (BHee) supports schools in their journey to sustainability. 
  • Plans for the 'rain-scaping' of parks and gardens to create wildlife areas and enhance green spaces, and help reduce run-off from heavy rainfall.
  • A Food Strategy Action Plan which is believed to be the most ambitious in the UK and supports the development of sustainable food systems and food use rather than food waste.
  • Being an active lead partner in The Living Coast Biosphere, working on biodiversity and nature projects.

About CDP

The Carbon Disclosure Project is a charity that runs a worldwide environmental disclosure system for investors, towns, cities and regions.

CDP has been established for 20 years and helps cities like Brighton & Hove manage environmental data and impacts of actions, to learn and improve.

CDP looks at a wide range of data and actions in a way which is comparable with other cities.

Reporting is voluntary and free.

Last year 1,000 cities reported worldwide, 54 from the UK.

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