Climate experts acknowledge Bristol’s progress but warn pace of change must accelerate

The latest report from the Bristol Advisory Committee on Climate Change (BACCC) reviews citywide progress on tackling the climate crisis and concludes that, although there is some positive progress, the city is still way off meeting its 2030 carbon neutral and climate resilient targets.

BACCC is an independent committee which provides expert advice on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the impacts of a changing climate. Their latest report is an assessment of progress against the One City Climate Strategy which was launched by the Environment Board in March 2020, setting out the pathway for the city to reduce carbon emissions and build resilience to a changing climate by 2030.

Dr Jo House and Professor Jim Longhurst, Co-Chairs of BACCC said “There are many encouraging examples of innovative climate action from across the city, such as the creation of Bristol City Leap – which aims to accelerate energy efficiency, district heating and renewable electricity generation, and the Community Climate Action Project – supporting communities to take a leading role in shaping Bristol’s transition to a low carbon and climate resilient city. However, climate change is not slowing down so unless we act collectively and urgently to scale up action in other areas, the ambitions set out will not be met.”

The UK Climate Change Committee is making similar warnings on a national scale, as is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on a global scale. BACCC have made 12 recommendations for the city to help inform policy and move the agenda forward, including analysis of the 2022 heat wave and lessons learnt; the need for more data to assess progress; city-wide climate engagement activity; and the scaling up of successful initiatives such as Bristol Green Capital Partnership’s Climate Action Programme.

According to BACCC, transport is one of the areas with the least progress. They suggest a large well-funded public transport intervention is necessary, as well as further investment in walking and cycling infrastructure, to offer an alternative to the high dependency on private car use. Alongside transport, infrastructure interdependencies is another area lacking in progress, for example, understanding the risk that extreme weather poses to water, sewerage, power distribution, highways, railways and telecommunications.

Councillor Kye Dudd, Co-Chair of the One City Environment Board and Cabinet Member for Climate, Ecology, Waste and Energy says: “Our Labour administration has already invested some £100 million in decarbonisation work since 2016, as we continue to build homes and tackle the climate emergency. Mayor Marvin Rees was right to set up Bristol’s Advisory Committee on Climate Change to independently scrutinise our city’s continued progress towards carbon neutrality.

“It’s reassuring that the report recognises the significance of the £630 million initial planned investment secured through Bristol City Leap’s clean energy partnership to cut energy bills, create jobs, and slash carbon emissions. Clearly similar scales of investment are required across all sectors. As we continue to plant historic numbers of new trees here, Bristol City Leap is an important green shoot of hope both locally, nationally, and internationally. After more than a decade of national austerity, we need meaningful change in the UK and globally to unlock the further finance required for Bristol and other cities to build on our progress in tackling the climate emergency.”

Ann Cousins, Co-Chair of the One City Environment Board said “The Environment Board welcomes this review of the One City Climate Strategy and acknowledges that faster progress is needed to respond to the climate emergency. The council cannot progress this agenda alone; addressing the climate emergency needs the innovation, capacity and resources of the wider city and beyond to work collaboratively towards a more sustainable city.”

There are many ways to contribute to Bristol’s climate action and plenty of support available. Find out more about how you can play your part whether as an individual, as part of a business, or through your community on Bristol’s Climate Hub website.

Credit: Martyna Bober via Unsplash

BACCC response to January 2023 partial consultation on Bristol Local Plan

“The Local Plan consultation is a massive opportunity to shape planning decisions that will affect both the climate resilience and climate impacts of Bristol. Not just for the next 20 years that the plan covers, but for many, many years to come.” Jo House, University of Bristol (BACCC Co-chair)

Bristol’s new local plan will update all existing policies for deciding planning applications and guide development across the city over the next twenty years. Following previous rounds of consultation, this winter Bristol City Council sought views on the drafts of additional and revised policies and proposals that they propose to include in the new local plan. The topics covered by this stage of the consultation included ecology, homes, jobs, sustainability, design policy, sites for development, and applications for advertising.

In response to this, the members of Bristol Advisory Committee on Climate Change (BACCC) reviewed these draft policies and have submitted a report to Bristol City Council to share their conclusions.

The report reflects BACCC’s broad support for the intent of the draft policies and commends the fact that these indicate the plan’s potential to become one of the more ambitious and progressive local plans in its residential targets. However, it also raises some key points in relation to the draft policies in order to constructively support the development of more robust Local Plan policies.

These point include:

  • Highlighting opportunities for a more strategic approach
  • Recommendations relating to how the Local Plan should stay ahead of the curve, how policies could be implemented / enforced, and how the plan can support a Just Transition
  • Commenting on policies relating to net zero and climate mitigation, adapting to a changing climate, and biodiversity.

Download the full report here.

The Bristol Advisory Committee on Climate Change welcomed the opportunity to have engaged with the Local Plan consultation and Co-Chairs Jo House, University of Bristol, and James Longhurst, University of the West of England, have expressed their thanks to all who have contributed – including BACCC members, the BACCC Register of Experts, Bristol Green Capital Partnership, and to Bristol City Council for engaging with the process.

All responses to the consultation will feed into the next stage of the draft plan which will be published for representations in Summer 2023 and open to further public comment. Following this stage, the plan will be submitted for examination by the planning inspector with the aim for it to be adopted in Autumn 2024.

BACCC seeking new members

The Bristol Advisory Committee on Climate Change (BACCC) is seeking new members as part of a member refresh.

BACCC is an independent committee that provides advice on the climate crisis to Bristol City Council, the Bristol One City Boards and other key city stakeholders and assesses progress towards the city’s climate goals.

Its members have wide ranging skills, experience and knowledge related to the climate crisis. Together they aim to support Bristol’s progress in achieving net zero by 2030 and adapting to climate change in an effective, inclusive, and just manner.

The BACCC is seeking at least five new members for the committee with skills, experience and knowledge that can contribute to BACCC’s purpose. This could include:

  • Expertise on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and/or adapt to climate change at the city level;
  • Knowledge and experience of the impact of the climate crisis on Bristol and its communities;
  • Expertise on climate vulnerabilities and building community resilience to climate impacts;
  • Experience with policy, system and/or behaviour change;
  • Public engagement and/or communications expertise;
  • Knowledge around climate justice, just transition and lived experience of climate impacts.

Time Commitment: BACCC meets for around two hours once a month and currently holds both in-person (central Bristol) and online meetings, with a mix of morning or afternoon meetings and dates sent out well in advance. Members are expected to attend meetings regularly, plus contribute to working groups, the development of reports and statements, and/or act as a rep to a One City Board. This amounts to roughly 5 hours per month.

Financial remuneration: Financial remuneration for time, support and mentoring can be made available for successful candidates who feel that otherwise they would not be able to play a full and active role in the BACCC’s work (on a case-by-case basis).

Membership and diversity: BACCC would like to increase the diversity of its membership and encourages applications from people from, and/or with knowledge or experience of groups currently under-represented, including black and minority ethnic communities; Disabled people; and young people (aged 18 – 24).

How to apply

Find more information about BACCC and the role of members see here.

To express interest, please send us:

  • An outline of how your experience, skills and knowledge can contribute to BACCC’s purpose in a maximum of 300 words (short video applications also possible).
  • An optional equalities monitoring form. Download the form in Microsoft Word.

These should be sent to with the subject line “BACCC application” by end of day Sunday 6 November.

If you have any queries about the role, please email

BACCC statement on extreme heat in the UK, July 2022

Bristol is experiencing unprecedented levels of heat with temperature records in parts of the UK likely to be broken over the coming days. Dangerously high temperatures are a consequence of climate change and will occur more frequently in the future.

The extreme heat impacts on health, infrastructure, food, water and ecosystems, and causes disruption to lives and livelihoods. These impacts will be felt by everyone but are not felt equally – with heatwaves more likely to affect homeless people, those living in low-quality housing, the elderly, Disabled people and frontline workers. Whilst many can stay at home this week, others must work in the heat.

We must redouble our efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and protect nature, whilst giving urgent attention to adapting homes, offices and infrastructure to be cooler and more resilient in our new climate reality.

Please note: This statement has not necessarily been endorsed by all Committee members or, where applicable, their host organisations.

More information on climate actions you can take:  

Advice on managing extreme heat:  

BACCC Launches Annual Report on Year Two

The Bristol Advisory Committee on Climate Change (BACCC) has published its Annual Report on Year Two, a review of the second year since its formation.

The report gives an overview of its activities in 2021, progress made towards set priorities, an analysis of impact and reflections on progress made towards Bristol’s carbon neutral and climate resilience target.

BACCC has identified the following priorities for the year ahead:

  • To understand and influence key national developments and their implications for Bristol, identifying opportunities and challenges for Bristol’s 2030 ambition, working closely with key local, national and international agencies.
  • To increase the focus within Bristol on climate risk and adaptation needs.
  • To monitor progress of delivery of the One City Climate Strategy.
  • To support local Climate Emergency communication and engagement activity.
  • To increase the focus on a just transition to all One City Boards and Bristol City Council, and as part of the One City Climate Strategy planning processes.

The BACCC’s Annual Report on Year Two is now available here.

Cover image of BACCC annual report year two

Liveable and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods: Rapid Assessment

In response to a request from Bristol One City stakeholders, the Bristol Advisory Committee on Climate Change (BACCC) has worked quickly to produce a Rapid Assessment on Liveable and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods. This assessment gathers and identifies the quality of case studies and evidence and presents recommendations to improve the success of potential schemes. To contact the committee for further information, or to discuss this briefing, please contact