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Exeter launches its roadmap to carbon neutrality by 2030

At a time when the coronavirus crisis is forcing citizens and organisations to reassess lifestyles and behaviours, Exeter City Futures said planning for a net-zero future has never been more relevant.

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Exeter's carbon-neutrality plan has been four years in the making
Exeter's carbon-neutrality plan has been four years in the making

The UK city of Exeter has released its roadmap to become carbon neutral by 2030.

 

The community interest company (CIC) Exeter City Futures said that despite the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic, its Plan for a Net Zero Exeter remains of paramount importance and has presented its plans to the city council.

 

Practical actions

 

The plan sets out a series of practical actions that local authorities, organisations and individuals can take, with associated carbon-savings and cost, all of which Exeter will need to put in place in order to become net-zero carbon.

 

Key findings from the plan include a 53,000-tonne carbon-saving if 100 per cent of Exeter’s electricity is generated from clean sources, as well as 140,000 tonnes of carbon-saving if the city was to exploit the maximum potential for renewable generation (including solar, wind and geothermal).

 

“More than ever the city needs to come together to think about the kind of future that we really want and make it a reality.”

 

The plan details 12 goals focused on areas such as access to renewable energy, reducing the dominance of cars, green spaces and local produce, reliable journeys and resilient roads, affordable healthy housing and regenerative design. Exeter City Futures said it is built on the understanding that success will only be achieved through a "genuinely collective effort" from everyone.

 

Climate emergency

 

In July last year, Exeter City Council unanimously agreed to declare a climate emergency and made the commitment to make Exeter a carbon-neutral (or net-zero carbon) city by 2030. In September it asked Exeter City Futures CIC to help curate a shared plan to realise this aim.

 

The CIC said that formal endorsement of the plan by the council is expected to be delayed because of Covid-19, which, understandably, has to take priority, but it believes the actions remain relevant at a time when the current crisis is forcing us to reassess our lifestyles, change the ways we work, and even shift our values.

 

The CIC said this provides a unique opportunity to take the learnings from the current challenging situation and isolation and turn them into “creative, positive, practical action”, in preparation for when society can return to some sense of normality.

 

“Many businesses and individuals are now struggling to deal with the impacts of Covid-19 and this is likely to change the way the city views and responds to the plan.”

 

“It [the plan] has been four years in the making with collaboration with the many different communities, institutions, organisations and individuals who make up our city,” said Liz O’Driscoll, managing director at Exeter City Futures.

 

“Everyone across Exeter has a role to play, this isn’t something that can be delivered by any local authority alone.”

 

She added: “Many businesses and individuals are now struggling to deal with the impacts of Covid-19 and this is likely to change the way the city views and responds to the plan.

 

“More than ever the city needs to come together to think about the kind of future that we really want and make it a reality.”

 

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