Nottingham has managed to slash its carbon pollution in half in just under two decades, the city council says.
The authority says working together with businesses and residents amid the accelerating climate crisis has been critical to reducing the figures.
And the council also says the Green Rewards mobile app, which rewards people for turning off lights or using public transport instead of their cars, has alone cut carbon pollution equivalent to 300,000 miles travelled by car since its launch in October 2021.
More than 30 per cent of the city’s buses also now run on biogas or electricity. About half of the council’s own fleet of vehicles also run on cleaner fuels.
The Labour-run authority’s councillors will now provide an update on the council’s plan to become carbon neutral by 2028, at a scrutiny committee meeting on March 8.
Council documents say: “The impact of the global climate crisis is accelerating.
“We are seeing more and more devastating extreme weather events such as flooding and heatwaves around the world and closer to home.
“The cause of this is undoubtedly the ever-increasing levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by the burning of fossil fuels by humans.
“A carbon-neutral city results in a cleaner, healthier environment for us all and
creates opportunities to live and work in a more sustainable and healthy way.”
Carbon neutral means that, for all harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted, the city will also remove the equivalent amount from the atmosphere.
CO2 is typically created by using fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas.
It contributes to the trapping of heat in the earth’s atmosphere in a phenomenon known as the greenhouse effect.
Petrol vehicles, for example, produce CO2 as well as other pollutants such as nitrous oxide and methane.
In 2019 Nottingham City Council, alongside partners including Nottingham Trent University, the University of Nottingham and the NHS, published a Carbon Neutral Nottingham 2028 (CN28) Charter.
This was followed by the declaration of a climate emergency in 2020.
According to the latest data from the Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Nottingham has reduced its overall CO2 emissions by 49.96 per cent between 2005 and 2020.
This is equivalent to one million tonnes of CO2.
Just one tonne of CO2 is roughly equivalent to a petrol car travelling just over 2,000 miles.
In terms of carbon emissions per person, there has been a 57.7 per cent reduction in Nottingham, the highest of any UK core city.
The council says a number of milestones have been reached so far.
More than 4,000 Nottingham and Nottinghamshire households have now signed up to the ‘Green Rewards’ mobile app, whereby users log their actions in return for points which can lead to discounts at local shops.
Of this number 1,700 are city residents, whose actions have offset more than 70 tonnes of CO2.
In total users have logged over 62,250 individual actions, such as recycling or using public transport, which has offset 148 tonnes of CO2.
Nottingham also has the highest number of electric vehicle charge points per person out of any UK major city outside London.
Another £15m of funding has also been secured to finance 78 new electric buses and better-charging infrastructure for Nottingham City Transport (NCT).
Since 2012, more than 4,000 social housing properties have had solar panels fitted and in 2020, the council secured £13m in funding for domestic energy efficiency retrofits for 1,200 homes.
Nottingham Universities Hospital NHS Trust (NUH) also launched its NHS Green Plan in April 2022, with a target of becoming net zero by 2040.
Included in this plan is the replacement of coal-fired boilers at Nottingham City Hospital, which will offset 800 tonnes of CO2 (or equivalent) every year.
Council documents add: “Achieving carbon neutral by 2028 is something that cannot be achieved by one organisation alone.
“The council is directly responsible for approximately 3 per cent of the city’s CO2 emissions so it is imperative that all business, organisations, workers, residents, and visitors to the city play their part.
“Key to this is collaboration and the council is at the heart of this.”