Birmingham makes bold green declaration

By on 08/12/2009 in News

Birmingham City Council has thrown down the gauntlet to local authorities across the UK by publishing the Birmingham Declaration on climate change.

The declaration, approved by councillors, underlines the city's ambition to be at the forefront of the effort nationally and internationally to tackle issues around sustainability.

Underpinning the declaration is a plan to use the council's purchasing power and influence as a vehicle to stimulate green initiatives which will provide significant employment opportunities for Birmingham's people and reduce energy bills for citizens and businesses alike.

The declaration - which it is hoped will be adopted by other councils across the UK - states that by 2015:

• All vehicles procured by the council should be electrically powered or run on liquefied petroleum gas
• There will be at least 500 electric cars running on the streets of the city as we will develop the electric charging infrastructure
• 50 per cent of electricity used by the council should be generated from renewable sources
• The city council's energy consumption will be reduced by 25 per cent
• Ten per cent of Birmingham homes will be linked to district heating systems
• Ten per cent of Birmingham homes will have retrofit insulation
• There will be at least ten “low carbon communities” similar to the successful example of Summerfield Eco-neighbourhood

It is envisaged that the declaration will help Birmingham meet its ambitious target of reducing CO2 levels in the city by 60 per cent by 2026 when compared to 1990 levels. The declaration will also be promoted to delegates from around the world at the UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen next month.

Cllr Paul Tilsley, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Birmingham over the last few years has developed a strong reputation as a national leader on the issues of climate change and sustainability.

“We are now seeking to take that onto the next level with the Birmingham Declaration which we think is something that other local authorities could adopt in part or whole as they attempt to tackle environmental matters.

“The combined purchasing power of local government, coupled with the objectives outlined in this declaration can give manufacturers the confidence to invest in green technologies, to develop new products and to therefore create fresh employment opportunities that would have never existed before.

“By achieving the objectives we have set, we will significantly reduce carbon emissions and make Birmingham a cleaner and greener city.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. Notable achivements from the Summerfield Eco Project include 329 low income owner occupied houses receiving free eco installations, six large Victorian properties de-converted into Eco Family Homes and rented out to social housing tenants, and work to engage with local schoochildren on eco issues. Local residents 'own' these activities and projects, and their input, combined with the local expertise of agencies delivering services in Summerfield, has ensured that activities and projects have been tailored to fit local needs effectively, enabling them to be successful and benefits to be maximised for the area. Household energy consumption and fuel bills have been significantly reduced, and reductions in household turnover have made the community more stable and cohesive. Urban Living reports that Summerfield has moved from being a 'mixed performance neighbourhood' into a 'sustainable community'

Birmingham Declaration

For further information contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621

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There Are 7 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Jay says:

    I have lived in this city for 5 years. Nothing has changed public transport of traffic congestion wise. There are still no decent cycle routes in and out of and around the city centre. What is so green about all this? nothing.

    Just came back from visiting 3 US cities all make public transport system here look expensive, unhelpful and ridiculous. So in reponse to this article I say, So What! stop backslapping and writing stupid press releases like this and do something.

  2. Terry says:

    Jay, which US cities were they?

    How did you get to the US? Would you agree the car is still very much king over there?

    Try getting around most cities in the US without a car or try getting from the centre of some out to the suburbs (or from suburb to suburb). Britain, and Brum in particular aren’t that bad in the grand scheme of things!

  3. Chris Duggan says:

    I’ve posted some questions about the declaration on the GreeninBrum website here.

    • geoffc says:

      Thanks for your feedback Chris – we’ll make sure this link is passed on to the relevant members and officers.

  4. Tom W says:

    I agree to an extent with Jay regarding actually seeing improvements. I know that in Birmingham there are a lot of exciting things planned for the future, especially regarding Eastside, Newhall Square and a number of other building projects. The problem is with so many Birmingham City Council initiatives is that it can be very hard to find how all these iniatives are progressing.

    Here’s an idea to Birmingham City Council: Create a dedicated webpage on the Council pages which will have regular updates on all the different iniatives and projects in the city. Have it broken down into different areas (e.g. education, transport, environment and so on) and next to every update put the date – then if you don’t update it for months on end you know there’s an issue. Even if there is no update on something (for example Arena Central) tell us why – it would be much better if you told us that than if we heard from a variety of probably unreliable sources.

    • geoffc says:

      Tom

      Thanks for your comment. As always we do appreciate feedback and, where possible, forward comments onto relevant officers.

  5. mjones says:

    I am rather surprised by the reference to powering vehicles by liquified petroleum gas as part of a low carbon strategy. While LPG may have some benefits to air quality in comparison with diesel (though improved diesel technology is reducing the advantage) in terms of carbon dioxide emissions it is actually worse than diesel because it is significantly less energy efficient. I’d be worried that a lot of money is going to spent on a measure that doesn’t actually achieve its objectives.

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