Good progress made by Oxfordshire to create greener economy, says new report

West Oxfordshire

Bioregional, a 25-year-old not for profit organisation which champions “One Planet Living” has launched its first comprehensive review of Oxfordshire’s progress towards tackling the climate and ecological emergency and creating a greener, healthier county.

The report measures progress against 20 key outcomes agreed in 2018 by more than 100 stakeholders from across the county as part of its One Planet Oxfordshire initiative. It finds that progress has been made against at least half of the 20 outcomes over the past few years. For example:

  • Every local authority in the county has declared a climate emergency and set targets for its operations being carbon neutral, with all but West Oxfordshire setting targets for their districts to be net-zero.
  • Some headway has been made against these targets. Oxford City and districts must cut carbon emissions by around 13 per cent a year in order to meet the county’s 2050 target for net-zero.
  • Oxfordshire remains one of the best-performing county waste disposal authorities in the country, with a recycling rate of 57.2 per cent. The amount of waste going to landfill has been cut from 19 per cent in 2015 to just five per cent in 2019.
  • Oxford continues to be a UK leader in sustainability innovation and action.

For seven outcomes there has been mixed progress.  For example:

  • Despite some improvement, air quality levels still breach UK legal limits. The Zero Emissions Zone in Oxford starting in August 2021 should significantly improve this.
  • Private car travel is on the rise and public transport use has decreased – a trend aggravated by the pandemic.
Nicole Lazarus, Head of One Planet Living at Bioregional said: ‘Oxfordshire continues to be a powerhouse of research, ingenuity and thought leadership. From zero-carbon projects such as Oxford’s Energy Superhub project and the forthcoming Zero Emissions Zone, to UK-leading recycling and composting rates, Oxfordshire has much to be proud of. But let’s not forget we are in an emergency situation – we need to rapidly step up our efforts across the county if we are to achieve our goal of One Planet Living.’
Cllr Pete Sudbury, Oxfordshire County Council Cabinet Member for Climate Change Delivery and Environment added: “We welcome this first, independent review of progress towards the One Planet Oxfordshire Shared Vision. Undertaking such a wide-ranging review is a significant task and there is a clear need for more monitoring and data collection. We look forward to working with Bioregional to develop and improve future annual progress reviews.

“While the County Council has clear plans in place for a sustainable Oxfordshire that are being rolled out, we recognise there is a lot more to do and an urgent need to act at pace and scale. We are strongly committed to partnership, working on policy, programmes and unequivocal, science-based targets. We are pleased to be joining with all those across Oxfordshire who are working towards achieving the One Planet Oxfordshire vision.”