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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 greater proportions of imports coming by sea.
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The airport is still serving the region with increased numbers of flights, and there have been technological developments and shifts towards alternative fuels resulting in cleaner quieter planes. The number of flights operating has increased, although air travel is expensive.
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Bristol remains the economic powerhouse of the region. The northern fringe of Bristol and Avonmouth are still important, particularly as a green hub of energy related industries, and South Bristol has developed as another significant economic location.
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Electricity is totally decarbonised, generated from a combination of large power stations, both 3rd generation nuclear and fossil fuel fitted with carbon capture and storage technology. The electricity distribution network is flexible, allowing local generation networks to connect to national and international generation and balance peaks and troughs in demand and supply across the country and Europe.
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The vast majority of our food is UK grown produce, although locally-grown food is important too. Much food production is still carried out on a large-scale intensive farming basis, as this is the only way to efficiently and cheaply feed the growing population.
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Many people work in modern, highly efficient business parks outside the city. The important sectors in the region are hi-tech green-tech engineering and manufacturing, media and creative industries, the generation of energy and development of renewable energy technology, finance and other professional services, education knowledge and research, and ICT.
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Many areas are high density and there are increasing numbers of small houses and apartments to accommodate an increasing population. Medium height, high density buildings have replaced the worst high rises.
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There is a high-speed electrified rail link to South Wales and London, and on to Europe .
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Community green spaces make features of the sustainable drainage systems.
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There is a strong sense of community and neighbourhoods, but there has not been a wholesale restructuring of society towards communitarianism and collective ownership of assets and resources, nor individualism.
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There are more high-rise buildings, particularly the new office hubs, which have very hi-tech energy management systems and integrated renewable energy generation.
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Low emission buses are the predominant mode of travel used in city and town centres, using a ticketless ‘smart card’ system.
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Many homes have solar PV, but generally micro generation is still fairly minor due to cost and efficiency of the technology.
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Buildings, old and new, domestic and commercial, have high levels of energy efficiency using the latest lighting, insulation and heating/cooling technologies. Integrated ‘intelligent systems’ for energy and building management systems have been designed in to the body of the buildings.
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The infrastructure of the region favours private vehicles, and for most people this is still the preferable way to travel. Charging stations are found around the cities and towns and also at people’s homes.
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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

A mix of renewables across the Bristol region provides a top-up to the national decarbonised nuclear and clean fossil fuel supply, which is also connected into Europe. The region is a centre for the latest in energy efficiency and our energy system is ‘SMART’ . Read more...

Electricity is generated from a combination of large power stations, both nuclear and fossil fuel, now mostly combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) fitted with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. There are some large wind turbines in the Severn Estuary, but not a substantial number due to the relatively high cost and lower efficiency compared to other means of generation. There is a small amount of decentralised generation, such as combined heat and power (CHP) plants and district heating networks in some higher-density areas, fuelled by biomass and municipal waste. The cost of retrofitting, and the need to ‘live differently’ meant that this wasn’t popular with everybody, and so some homes have heat pumps or solar thermal systems, but many older properties still rely on natural gas for heating, in highly efficient boilers. Many homes have solar photovoltaics (PV), but generally micro generation is still fairly minor due to cost and efficiency of the technology. Large renewable energy projects such as tidal generation in the Severn estuary didn’t progress. The electricity distribution network is flexible, allowing local generation networks to connect to national and international generation and balance peaks and troughs in demand and supply across the country and Europe. The grids are ‘smart’, facilitating efficient energy management systems and energy balancing, and sophisticated interactions with appliances and technology in industry and homes. Buildings, both old and new, are very energy efficient, leading to decreased domestic energy use. Due to the growth of industry in the region, overall energy demand has increased, but the intensity of activities has decreased, and industry has eliminated processes that are wasteful of energy. There have been a significant number of financial penalties and incentives which have helped reduce energy demand and drive efficiency, as well as high prices for energy and carbon. Regulations and standards have also been important.

TRANSPORT

Travel is still popular, important and necessary, and a variety of options are available for people in the region, including an efficient integrated public transport network. Electric cars and their infrastructure are common. The port and airport are still very active. Read more...

A variety of transport modes are in use. There is a fast, efficient, integrated public transport network. Some light rail is found in urban areas but was quite expensive so low emission buses and other transit systems were more popular: buses are the predominant modes used in city and town centres. Some heavier rail connects communities within and outside the region. There has not been much expansion of routes but those that exist have increased their capacity. Rail, along with cars, is the predominant mode of transport for travelling longer distances outside the region. There is also a high-speed rail link to London and on to Europe. Public transport is all paid for by a ‘smart card’ system, making it easy and cheap to access. An excellent network of walking and cycling routes is present around the region and within cities and towns, but most people use other forms of transport to get to work, school and shops. Private cars are common due to the practical benefits. The infrastructure of the region favours private vehicles, and for most people this is still the preferable way to travel. Most households own their own vehicle, especially in rural areas, and car clubs exist but are not widely used. Cars, along with some buses, are the predominant mode of travel in suburbs and rural areas. The vehicles people own are much smaller and cleaner than in the past, and mostly hybrid or electric (generated cleanly). Congestion is no longer a problem, due in part to the use of park and ride schemes, car free zones and other restrictions on driving, although road pricing was never established. Some people work from home or in local ‘hubs’, using technology to avoid travelling, although this is not ‘the norm’. Increased use of online services has replaced the need to travel for many things, such as shopping, but travel is still necessary for many day to day activities as there has not been a significant ‘relocalisation’ of services and employment. Overall, most people travel less distance and for less time than in the past: approximately 30% less for work, 10% less for leisure, 40% less for education and shopping, and 15% less for holidays. Bristol Port is increasingly active, with greater proportions of imports coming by sea in sustainable ships. The port has not been affected by energy generation technologies in the Severn Estuary. The airport is still serving the region and there have been shifts towards alternative fuels and technologies for aviation resulting in cleaner planes, and the number of flights operating has increased, although air travel is expensive.

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

Traditional style, highly efficient buildings make up integrated communities, with some high-rise office hubs, significant green space and public transport infrastructure. Read more...

All buildings achieve the highest levels of efficiency as ‘the norm’. Many buildings have energy generating technologies, and are ‘intelligent’, with integrated systems for energy and building management, communication and entertainment. Many residential areas have not changed significantly in appearance from previous decades due to the age of the buildings – now retrofitted and highly efficient – and newer buildings have been built to closely resemble the old but with much higher standards of efficiency and innovative new construction methods. There are more high-rise buildings, particularly the new office hubs, which have very hi-tech energy management systems and integrated renewable energy generation. Many areas are high density and there are increasing numbers of small houses and apartments to accommodate a growing population. Developments are mixed, with integrated homes, businesses, work hubs, sociable spaces and retail facilities, and many of the old commercial areas have been redeveloped. Many buildings are also mixed use. There are some communal facilities such as sophisticated waste handling systems, cycling infrastructure (e.g. bike sheds) and community green spaces, which make features of the sustainable drainage systems, such as ponds and streams. Most public space and gardens have a lot of trees and other vegetation for shading. Public transport infrastructure is integrated into communities and there is advanced ICT and communications infrastructure.

FOOD, WASTE, WATER

Food is predominantly UK produced, with some intensive farming and some imports. Waste is reduced and separated, and water efficiently used. Read more...

UK grown produce is the most widely available, although locally-grown food is important too. Much food production is still carried out on a large-scale intensive basis, as this is the only way to efficiently and cheaply feed the growing population. In addition, luxury food products such as coffee are still imported. Less waste is generated, and separation, recycling and reuse is ‘the norm’ as waste is seen as a resource. There has been a reduction in the amount of packaging waste. Water has become more expensive and rainwater and grey water collection and recycling is now common, although overall water consumption has decreased.

ECONOMY

The region has a thriving, hi-tech economy, internationally competitive and connected. Manufacturing and professional services are major sectors.Read more...

The important sectors in the region are hi-tech green-tech engineering and manufacturing, media and creative industries, the generation of energy and development of renewable energy technology, finance and other professional services, education knowledge and research, and ICT. Industries and employers are concerned with finding skilled staff. Competitiveness – locally, nationally and internationally – is important to industries, as is profit and sales. Innovation and creativity, and local and international connectivity are also priorities. Availability and quality of sites and premises is also important. Industries and jobs are found across the region, particularly in city and local centres and some local hubs. Many people work in modern, highly efficient business parks outside the city. The northern fringe of Bristol and Avonmouth are still important locations, and South Bristol has developed as another significant economic location.

COMMUNITY

Society is mixed, environmentally literate, with a good quality of life.Read more...

There is a strong sense of community and neighbourhoods, but there has not been a wholesale restructuring of society towards collective ownership of assets and resources. Society is still mixed, with some strongly community-focussed areas and other more individualistic communities, but social conflict and polarisation has been reduced and there are fewer marginalised groups. People are healthier and generally have a good work-life balance, aided by flexible working. They are environmentally literate and understand their impact on the environment and others. Quality of life is important, and the consumption of material goods is lower than in the past. The large ageing population and global over-population are a worry, and are starting to put pressure on society and local resources, although the population of the region has not grown as much as was anticipated, at 1.2 million people.