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© 2013 Dr Rosemary Bailey. All rights reserved
Images © Andy Council 2013
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Bristol Port is increasingly active with more imports coming by sea in sustainable ships, and any energy generation in the estuary does not impact the Port.
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Rural fringes are important for agriculture, energy generation (including growing biofuels), and the leisure industry. These are all important sectors, along with hi-tech green-tech engineering and manufacturing, and media and creative industries. Employment locations are integrated and evenly distributed across the region.
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Public services and shopping are accessed as much as possible online and increasingly more activities are available online (training, education etc). Every home has super-fast internet access and government training has ensured that everyone has the necessary skills to access services. Home-working is quite common.
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Double glazed windows, water collection and re-use system, waste separation systems, organic LEDs for the majority of domestic lighting, a large computer monitor and home entertainment centre are all common features.
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Energy and heat generation and distribution is largely decentralised and embedded. Nearly all homes will have the ability to generate some of their own electricity through at least one solar PV cell, and homeowners can sell surplus energy to the local system. Community owned renewable energy schemes are evident in every street
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Schemes such community owned and localised energy from waste CHP plants provide another significant proportion of the heat and electricity requirements.
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District heating networks are also present in denser areas, using waste heat from industry and combustion of municipal waste.
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Trams, along with buses and some light rail, (all paid for with a ticketless ‘smart card’ system), bicycles and walking, are popular ways to travel around cities and towns.
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Most food consumed in the region is seasonal and UK grown, with a high proportion grown within the region and in close proximity by sustainable farms. There are also many areas dedicated to communal food production within the city, including gardens and other land between buildings. These are integrated into community spaces along with sustainable drainage systems.
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Buildings look very different from previous decades, with innovative new construction methods and self-built homes common. Many buildings have green roofs and living walls.
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Private transport is very expensive and controlled through car free zones. Congestion charging and other financial disincentives make private vehicles less popular, and along with the excellent public transport network, mean that few people have or need a vehicle. Those few that do exist are very small, efficient electric or hybrid, and mostly part of a car club.
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The tidal range of the Severn estuary is captured in a low-impact manner to produce a large amount of power, fed into the National Grid, and a there are also a significant number of large offshore wind turbines in the estuary, with community involvement, ownership and benefit
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Society is increasingly self-sufficient, particularly with regard to food and transport, and people consume fewer material goods than in the past, and mostly buy locally. There is a strong sense of community and neighbourhood. Society is increasingly structuring itself around collective ownership of assets and resources.
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An expansion of rail infrastructure occurred, bringing rail networks and stations back into use (e.g. Portishead, Yate , Thornbury, Clevedon), connected by fast electric trains to Bristol and Bath. High speed rail links the region to Europe and has replaced air travel.
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There has been a relocalisation of services to within neighbourhoods, allowing most trips to schools and leisure be carried out by walking and cycling. Most families can meet their shopping needs through local shops and markets . Collections of organisations provide a local hub in a shared office space, and community centres are common.
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THE PROJECT

THE PROJECT

This project seeks to engage the public in what it means for Bristol to be a "low carbon city", enabling everyone to have their say and help shape the future that we want to see. The aims are to:

  • Engage the public and raise awareness about what a low carbon future means
  • Find out how people feel about two different potential futures, which features are desirable and which we want to avoid
  • Start a public discussion about how Bristol can become a low carbon city, and gather opinions, thoughts and new ideas

THE RESEARCH

The two scenarios are the result of a 4 year EPSRC funded PhD research project undertaken by Dr Rose Bailey at the University of the West of England during the period 2008-2012, supported by Bristol City Council and The Centre for Sustainable Energy. This research aimed to explore how the Bristol city region might achieve its 2050 carbon reduction target of 80%, to help close the gap between 'where we are now' and 'where we need to be'.

To do this, 140 local, influential people in businesses, charities, local councils, and universities were asked "what would you like Bristol to look like in 2050 if it was a low carbon city, and how do we make it happen?" Through a three-stage consultation process, the two different possible futures in the pictures were described, called 'X' and 'Y', and the steps that might achieve these scenarios were then mapped out by working backwards to the present.

Read more about the research here: "An exploration of the low carbon futures for the Bristol region"

THE WEBSITE

In 2012 Rose was the recipient of the John Rose Award from the Institution of Environmental Sciences. The award aims to help exceptional research fulfil its potential by communicating it beyond the scientific community. The grant is awarded to a project that demonstrates innovative, quality research in environmental sciences, to be used the dissemination of the winner's project, aiding in promoting the work as widely as possible and so maximise its value. With further support from Bristol City Council, Rose was able to commission the images of the two scenarios found on this website from local artist Andy Council, and with additional support from the Green Capital Partnership’s Community Challenge Fund was able to create this website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

To find out more about what Bristol city is doing to tackle climate change, head to the City Council’s climate change pages and the Green Capital Partnership’s site.

CONTACT US

If you have any questions about the project please email info@futurebristol.co.uk.

  • University of West England
  • University of Iceland
  • Bristol City Council
  • Centre For Sustainable Energy
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

SCENARIO Y

ENERGY

The Bristol region is a leader in decentralised, renewable energy, with most households and communities meeting their needs through integrated generation and high levels of efficiency. District heating and solar pv are common and tidal energy from the Severn is captured. We have ‘smart’ grids and networks, and a high use of ICT. Read more...

Energy and heat generation and distribution is largely decentralised, produced by homeowners through an array of different micro-generation technologies. There is very little demand for heating due to efficient buildings, but where there is biomass CHP systems play a role, fuelled by local plantation forests, and there is some solar thermal. Community combined heat and power (CHP) plants and district heating networks are also present in denser areas, using waste heat from industry and combustion of municipal waste, although these days there is much less waste produced and the demand for heat is very small. Small scale electricity generation, such as through solar photovoltaics (PV) and micro CHP systems, is common, supported by larger scale renewable generation; in particular the tidal range of the Severn estuary is captured in a low-impact manner to produce a large amount of power, and a there are also a significant number of large offshore wind turbines in the estuary. Power from these is fed into a flexible distribution network that, when required, has the ability to link up local generation networks nationally and internationally to balance peaks and troughs, although this is mostly for emergencies. Local and national grids are also ‘smart’, facilitating efficient energy management systems and energy balancing, and sophisticated interactions with appliances. Due to massive increases in efficiency and demand reduction, and sophisticated energy management, all energy needs can be met through renewable generation. Nuclear and fossil fuel power stations were phased out and no longer contribute to the electricity supply: carbon capture and storage technology never took off due to expense and resistance from energy companies, and nuclear power was very unpopular and the cost of new power stations was so great that when the old plants were decommissioned they were not replaced. There are high levels of energy efficiency: industry has eliminated processes that are wasteful of energy, increasingly localised production and supply chains, and energy intensity has significantly decreased, decoupling economic success and energy use. Domestic energy efficiency is also high, with very efficient appliances, increased substitution of tasks by information computer technology (ICT), and overall energy demand in the region is significantly lower than in previous decades. Both education and training and the high price of energy and carbon helped to bring about such large shifts in energy efficiency, as well as some financial incentives and penalties.

TRANSPORT

The need for travel has been reduced through a move to localisation, but where travel is necessary it is largely by bicycle, foot, or public transport. There is a tram system in operation, excellent cycle and walking routes. And cars have almost disappeared. The port is active but the airport has closed. Read more...

Public transport is a fast, efficient and popular way to travel, fully integrated, with a ‘smart card’ system making it easy to access and affordable. Trams, along with buses, some light rail, bicycles and walking, are a popular way to travel around cities and towns. Trains connect communities within and outside the region fast and efficiently, and along with coaches are the main modes of travel for longer distances. Buses, including on-demand services, serve rural areas. There is an excellent network of cycle and walking routes around the region, and many car-free zones: the transport infrastructure of the region no longer favours the private car. Congestion charging and other financial disincentives make private vehicles less popular, and along with the excellent public transport network, mean that few people have or need a vehicle. Those few that do exist are very small, efficient electric, and mostly part of a car club. Travel is not always necessary as needs can be met locally, and local travel, such as to shops and schools, is all done on foot or bicycle. Many people work locally, from home or local ‘hubs’ and use ICT to reduce the need to travel for work. Increasingly shopping is done online with consolidated deliveries. Overall, most people travel much less distance and for less time than in the past: approximately 50% less for work, 35% less for leisure, 50% less for education and shopping, and 45% less for holidays. Freight is transported by rail and water, and Bristol Port is increasingly active with more imports coming by sea in sustainable ships. Energy generation in the estuary does not impact the Port. The airport is no longer in use as it became economically unviable: travelling to Europe is much easier and cheaper by high-speed train, and flying further afield is expensive and rare, and only from London or Birmingham.

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

Innovative, modern-looking, highly efficient buildings are found in integrated communities, with significant green space, public transport infrastructure, and urban agriculture. Read more...

Buildings look very different from previous decades, with innovative new construction methods and self-built homes common. Many buildings have green roofs and living walls, and most have energy generating technologies built in. Buildings are ‘intelligent’, with integrated systems for energy and building management, communication and entertainment, and advanced ICT and communications infrastructure. All buildings achieve the highest levels of efficiency as ‘the norm’, and are well adapted to climate change impacts. There are much fewer high-rise buildings and more small houses and apartments, and many buildings are mixed use. Many areas are high density and mixed, with integrated homes, businesses, work hubs, sociable spaces and retail facilities, and many of the old commercial areas have been redeveloped. Public transport infrastructure is fully integrated and there are many communal facilities such as bike sheds, sophisticated waste handling systems, and open spaces. Most communal areas and gardens have a lot of trees and other vegetation for shading, food, and biodiversity. There are also many areas dedicated to communal food production, integrated into community spaces and sustainable drainage systems, such as ponds and streams.

FOOD, WASTE, WATER

Local seasonal produce is dominant, and urban agriculture popular. Waste is reduced and separated, and there is respect for the water supply. Read more...

Most food is seasonal and UK grown, particularly locally. Urban agriculture is popular and organic methods are widely used. It is not common to eat meat regularly. Less waste is generated, and separation, recycling and reuse is ‘the norm’ as waste is seen as a resource; if not reused, recycled or composted, it is used in waste-to-energy plants. The cost of the production of waste has been realised so waste is reduced at source, particularly in the case of packaging which has been reduced. Water has become more expensive, and climate impacts and extreme weather have affected supply. As a result, people respect their water supply; rainwater and grey water collection and recycling is now common, and overall water consumption has decreased.

ECONOMY

The economy is diverse, meeting local needs and providing skills. Local industries, green technology, energy generation, and food production are important. Read more...

There is a diverse mix of sectors in the region, but important ones include hi-tech green-tech engineering and manufacturing, media and creative industries, the generation of energy and development of renewable energy technology, leisure and tourism, the production of food and agriculture, and education, knowledge and research. Industries and employers are concerned with finding skilled staff, although this is made less of a priority by the relocalisation of industry and manufacturing, and an upskilling of the local workforce. Energy (security, supply and cost) is an issue for employers, as is the availability and cost of resources. Innovation and creativity, and local and international connectivity are also priorities. Industries and jobs are found across the region, particularly in city and local centres and local hubs. The northern fringe of Bristol is still important, as are some large hubs and business parks for manufacturing. Home-working is quite common. Other important locations include rural fringes for the agriculture, fuel and leisure industries, and there is more integrated employment right across the region and not just in small areas within it.

COMMUNITY

Society is self-sufficient, collective and slower paced, with a strong sense of community. Read more...

Society is increasingly self-sufficient, and people consume much fewer material goods than in the past. There is less focus on economic prosperity and more on quality of life, measured in terms of family, community, physical and psychological space, available free time, access to a green environment and level of involvement in local decision making. Much free time is taken up with essential activities such as food cultivation, caring for the elderly and repairing items. Life is slower paced and people are healthier, with rates of diabetes and obesity stabilising. Flexible working, ICT and other technology helps to support day to day living and access to services. People are environmentally literate and understand their impact on the environment and others. There is a strong sense of community and neighbourhoods, and communities have distinct identities, with work, education and shopping relocalised. Society is increasingly structuring itself around collective ownership of assets and resources, although there is still a mix of community-focussed and more individualistic areas, and many people are still concerned about maintaining their own lifestyles and privileges. Despite a lot of local decision-making, there is still central state intervention on many issues. Overpopulation and pressure on resources is a big issue globally and locally, where the population has increased to 1.35 million. The aging population is a problem, along with increasing numbers of environmental refugees.