A pioneering project in Bristol is bringing a range of businesses together to collaborate on helping reduce the levels of air pollution ahead of Bristol’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) launch in 2022.
Action Net Zero Bristol is a digital hub supporting residents and businesses to take easy, affordable action towards a net zero future. From July 2021 it has spearheaded a collaborative campaign, the first of its kind, to support residents and businesses of Bristol switch to cleaner, greener transport choices, ahead of the Clean Air Zone. It is powered by a collective of subject matter experts including Good Energy, Rightcharge, Co Charger, ALD Automotive and Edwards.
‘What’s unique about this project is that it’s about creating a blueprint for change in Bristol that can be used in other towns and cities. We know more than 1000 places in the UK have illegal levels of pollution’ says Pam Barbato. ‘By bring partners and influencers together, each with their own area of expertise, we provide expert help and advice on how residents and businesses can make greener choices – whether that’s encouraging people to walk or cycle more or helping people shift to electric vehicles, powered by renewable energy tariffs, using smart technology, or switching to a car club, collectively we are promoting all the choices that are available. Fixing air pollution addresses the climate crisis too, the sources and solutions are inextricably linked.’
The project is inspiring positive community and regional change in a number of ways:
The Action Net Zero digital hub – breaking down the myths and providing accurate information from subject matter experts, guides and advice on greener, cleaner transport options, responding to our audiences’ queries and concerns – recent examples include How can we clean our air? How much you can save by switching to an electric car? How do electric vehicle batteries impact the environment? What’s smart charging?
Press and broadcast – Action Net Zero Bristol has already appeared on local radio and in the business press.
Social media – targeted videos such as Bristol’s Driving Change and the Power of the collective.
Outdoor media – advertising on bus shelters and bus rears across Bristol to build awareness of the Clean Air Zone.
Local and national influencers – bringing key influencers into the Action Net Zero network, including:
Graeme Cooper – Head Future Markets – National Grid, Renewable Energy, Clean Transport, Market, Policy and Regulation
‘At National Grid we see electric vehicles as a positive development for the electricity system, helping to use renewable energy more efficiently by acting as batteries on wheels, soaking up excess power and discharging back to the grid when needed.
The decarbonisation of transport also plays a broader role in supporting the UK’s net zero ambitions, presenting a huge opportunity to reduce emissions, improve air quality and to be a global leader in mobility.
But the climate crisis isn’t limited by any regional boundary or border and action often begins at a local level so it’s great to see Action Net Zero gaining momentum. By giving clear and accurate advice on switching to EVs, and bringing people together to accelerate more sustainable lifestyle choices, it can be one part of the journey to net zero and lasting change.’
Juliet Davenport, Founder of Good Energy and Chair of Zap-Map, said:
‘One of the brilliant things about the energy transition is the opportunity to bring people together. We see that in community run renewables and we will see it as we switch to clean transport too. Walking, cycling, public transport and community electric vehicle charging — these are all opportunities for us to build stronger bonds with others as well as for cleaner air. With great businesses leading the charge as partners too, Action Net Zero Bristol is a leading example of people coming together for a greener future.’
Dr Euan McTurk of the electric vehicle and battery tech YouTube channel Plug Life Television said:
‘Action Net Zero Bristol is impressively broad-reaching in terms of the areas of environmental impact that it seeks to improve, and the active support from major businesses that it has managed to attract already. It acts as a font of knowledge for local residents and businesses, giving them clear and accurate advice on how to lessen their environmental impact, and pointing them in the direction of grants, incentives and other support to help them do so – of which many people and businesses would otherwise have remained completely unaware. They even introduce residents and businesses to others who have already made the switch, so that people can be reassured of the benefits before taking the plunge themselves. Action Net Zero therefore does exactly what it says in the title, and plays a pivotal role in accelerating what is a very urgent transition to Net Zero’.
Shining a light on ‘Transformers’; highlighting local residents and businesses who have made or are making greener transport choices, for example. sharing their electric vehicle chargers with neighbours or implementing cycle to work schemes for employees.
Competitions and incentives, A children’s art competition has already been launched, where they create a picture imagining Bristol in 2030, judged by Good Energy’s Good Future Board and local illustrator Richard Dearing who created the campaign’s creative.
‘We are measuring reach and impact to understand how to further accelerate regional change’, says Pam. ‘We’ll also be looking at practical markers, such as a snapshot of air quality data, through the help of our partners, within a test area in Bristol, and measuring how many people and businesses make green switches before the CAZ starts. We all know change takes time, but collectively we can accelerate it if we break down barriers and myths and share learnings. Our aim is to help provide principles for success for other regions, evidencing best practice’.