Oxford City Council sets out zero carbon vision

Oxford City Council has outlined how it will become zero carbon by 2030.

On 1 February, the council said that its 4th Carbon Management Plan, covering 2021/22 to 2029/30, targets an average annual emissions cut of 10% every year until 2030, representing a doubling of its current rate. To achieve this, it will focus mainly on rapid decarbonisation of its power for heating systems across its buildings and fleet vehicles.

Its proposed Budget for 2021/22 has committed the council to becoming net zero in all of its direct activities by the end of the year. This means buying only renewable energy and offsetting residual emissions. The goal of reaching zero carbon by 2030, meanwhile, will see programmes both existing and new to reduce the council’s underlying emissions accelerated. The Carbon Management Plan sets out how the council will prioritise emissions reductions, targeting the biggest energy and fuel consumers first. Proposed actions include detailed investment grade energy audits in the council’s highest energy consuming buildings to rapidly advance deeper carbon reductions, as well as decarbonising heat in its highest gas consumer buildings through both building fabric and air tightness improvements, along with shifting to high efficiency electric heating systems.

It is planning to install more solar PV across its estate and operations, along with investing in and purchasing electricity from local solar farms on longer term power purchase agreements, while electrifying its fleet of vehicles and moving to low carbon forms of transport. In the absence of a fully decarbonised electricity grid, the council said it will rely on green electricity purchases and local renewable energy generation for zero carbon power for electrified heat and fleet vehicles. It will also engage in staff carbon awareness campaigns to increase understanding of the benefits and opportunities to drive down emissions in the council’s estate and operations.