Brighton and Hove is the UK city closest to becoming Net Zero

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Brighton and Hove has been revealed as the UK city closest to becoming Net Zero, according to findings by alldayPA, the UK’s leading on-demand call answering customer services company.

In order to become carbon neutral by 2030, the city, in East Sussex, committed to the agenda set out by the UN’s Paris Agreement in 2015 – and began reducing its carbon emissions through a series of initiatives targeting business and domestic outputs. Already, the city’s CO2 levels are below 3.0t (2.8t), which is in line with the UN’s net zero sitemap.

The comparison data is based on carbon emissions per capita, and Brighton and Hove is closely followed by Southampton (2.9t), and then Bristol (3.2t), Norwich (3.2t) and Reading (3.2t), in joint third place.

Next up is Nottingham (3.3t), Bournemouth (3.3t) and Plymouth (3.3t). The remaining areas that produce less than 4.0t emissions per capita, are Leicester (3.4t), Manchester (3.7t), Northampton (3.7t) and Glasgow (3.8t).

Other findings revealed that, in line with the government’s mission to ban the use of petrol and diesel cars by 2030, there has been a spike in Google search volumes (by 87.40%) for electric cars, with people in Brighton and Hove starting to research, consider or make the transition to a greener form of transport. In September 2020 people in the city searched for electric cars 64,700 times, while in September 2021, that figure shot up to 121,250.

However, while analysing the air quality in each city, Nottingham, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Manchester and Edinburgh come out on top. Businesses in these areas have also given back to nature by supporting companies like Ecologi, who are on a mission to help reduce the planet’s carbon footprint by replanting more than 25 million trees.

Brighton and Hove has the 8th best air quality rating, with the lower the figure the better, at 2,551. Nottingham, which is top of the list, has a rating of 2,342.

Air quality improved during 2020 with 46.6% of the UK’s workforce working from home. A fortunate consequence of the unfortunate pandemic has meant that fewer people were using cars, taxis and public transport to get to work. Figures released by the ONS now show that during October 2021, with hybrid working in place, 30% of the UK’s population were working from home, which means the new COVID-19 rules set by the government are also helping to combat pollution as people are still working from home to avoid transmission of the virus.

Electric leasing car companies are giving businesses the opportunity to be part of a salary sacrifice scheme that allows them to save money on leasing electric company cars via budget-friendly monthly repayment plans.

EV bikes have also seen a rise in popularity in 2020, with many people having invested in electric bikes in order to keep fit and healthy during the pandemic. Similar to EV car leasing companies, business owners who sell eBikes are also offering affordable payment methods and cycle to work schemes, in order to encourage people to reduce pollution, improve their health and save money.

CEO of Electric Car Organisation (ECO) Julia Kemp commented on what they are doing to help cities become Net Zero: “With 28% of personal emissions of CO2 coming from driving our cars, the easiest action to save the planet we can make is to move to electric vehicles. They look the same, drive the same, if not better than petrol and diesel cars, and all you really need to do is change the fuel source.

“We recognise that there are other complications of moving to an EV and the Eco App seeks to make the transition easy from “beginning to end” by offering free home chargers and consultations to business, to electrify office car parks with bookable charging points.

“As part of our discussions with companies, we clearly define the scope of the environmental improvement expected from our involvement, as well as the financial benefits for both employer and employee, which can be considerable. The environment wins, the employer wins, and the employee wins.”

The founder of Avaris eBikes, Richard Heys, added: “There is a huge, direct potential to cut carbon emissions in UK cities with the use of electric bikes. By switching from using a car to an eBike to commute to and from work, research has shown that, on average, a person can reduce their carbon footprint by 200kg (0.2t) per year.

“Not only is choosing an eBike over a car or other means of public transport better for the environment, it allows cyclists to bypass a lot of the traffic many cities suffer with, especially during peak times. Less cars on our roads means less toxic carbon emissions are polluting the environment.

“eBikes aren’t just for young people or those living in city centre apartments. Due to their massively improved battery power and range, it’s now possible for people living outside the city to use them to commute to and from as well. This is more cost effective, environmentally friendly and is good for physical and mental wellbeing.”

Customer service company alldayPA also looked at the percentage of waste recycled in each area between 2019-2020. According to the firm’s stats, Brighton and Hove is 8th on the list, with 42.1% of waste recycled during this time.

Founder of alldayPA, Reuben Singh commented: “The Net Zero Strategy published by the government has the potential to be transformative in terms of both the environment and the economy. There is understandable focus on the scale of the challenge, the technology and the costs involved, but the practical day-to-day communications are essential for businesses across the UK to run successfully.

“At alldayPA, we support businesses involved in the environmental sector, and we’re seeing growth in that area, with businesses needing additional back-office support whilst their teams are out installing and maintaining green tech. Equally important is providing support to consumers – as an example, our customers in the housing sector are responsible for over 250,000 homes, and tenants are anxious about rising energy costs and the cost of ‘going green’. We provide a vital conduit when it comes to being able to answer questions, ally fears and arrange for installations.

“Sustainability has been gaining traction in the property sector for some time, given the importance of climate change and a current focus on rising energy costs. The Chancellor’s statement means that there is now pressure on both the demand and supply side to drive the property sector towards Net Zero. Buyers and tenants are demanding greener properties whether it’s a new-build or retrofitted older property. From a developer perspective, there’ll be a requirement for real change. Greener property will be a more valuable asset, more attractive to investors and will make a significant contribution as the UK moves towards Net Zero.”

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