Are Labour the new “Green” Party in Bristol?

Earlier this week (Tuesday 2nd April), Bristol City Council’s Cabinet approved the next step of the City Leap Energy Partnership.

The City Leap Energy Partnership, which Deputy Mayor Cllr Craig Cheney said would “change the life of Bristolians”, seeks private-sector investment to scale up sustainable energy delivery in order to make the city carbon neutral by 2030 (a target that has been revised from 2050 to meet the challenges Bristol faces).

After having received hundreds of expressions of interests from across the globe, Bristol City Council is now looking for a strategic partner to help finance the city’s energy infrastructure. According to Cabinet Member Cllr Kye Dudd, projects that could be brought forward include solar, wind and hydrogen power or moves towards greater energy efficiency within properties and increasing electric vehicle use.

Bristol City Council’s Labour administration has made sustainability a key focus of their time in office and have made links between the sustainability agenda to policy areas that may be more traditionally associated with the Labour Party such as housing, poverty and economic development.

Alongside the City Leap, Bristol City Council is considering introducing Clean Air Zones to reduce vehicle emissions which are estimated to cause 300 premature deaths a year in the city. The Clean Air Zones would see the most polluting cars charged to enter the city centre in order to reduce the amount of trips made and to encourage a shift to less polluting vehicles.

Clean Air Zones are part of the UK Government’s broader Air Quality Plan and the first cities to see these introduced will be Birmingham, Derby, Leeds, Nottingham and Southampton who have been ordered to introduce these by 2020. London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone will commence in April.

However, Bristol City Council has been criticised by the UK Government and Bristol City councillors from other parties for missing both the December 2018 and then February 2019 deadline for delivering an action plan to deal with air quality.

In what is an environmentally conscious city, it is clear that the Labour administration sees the importance of sustainability. With the upcoming 2020 mayoral and council elections the Labour Party seem to be making a pitch to attract former Green voters. Given these decisions, it will be interesting to see whether the policies proposed can deliver against the ambitious target to make the city carbon neutral by 2030.

To find out more about energy and infrastructure projects in Bristol or priorities of the Bristol Labour administration please contact

Tom Phipps - Account Manager