How to decarbonise Gloucestershire? Business West and Gloucestershire County Council lead

By Ian Mean Business West Gloucestershire director
Sunset over the green hills countryside in England, Dorset

What a wake-up call it was for business on the hottest day ever in the UK last week.

It put the challenge of climate change into the harsh reality of government now needing to really get behind net zero.

So, it was timely on that blisteringly hot day last Tuesday, Gloucestershire County Council held a Journey to Net Zero forum with community leaders to discuss how to decarbonise transport in the county.

Business West’s managing director, Phil Smith, gave a presentation on the Role of Business in Decarbonising Transport.

He said that current research by Business West and the British Chambers of Commerce, of which we are part, says that 70 per cent of businesses consider climate change as very important with 47 per cent planning to reduce emissions they use via travel.

However, there is a gap between companies’ aspirations and actions:

Only 11 per cent of businesses are measuring their carbon footprint – nine per cent for small businesses and five per cent for micro firms.

Business West’s research says the top three barriers to taking action are: Cash flow, competing priorities and the lack of knowledge.

Putting it simply, they don’t really know what to do in many cases.

So, business needs support and help.

And currently, I see little momentum from government to support and help companies on their journey to net zero.

Carbon reduction in Gloucestershire is vital as transport accounts for 43 per cent of all carbon emissions making it an important focus.

Our county council has committed to reducing carbon emissions from all sources in the county to net zero by 2045 and to reduce emissions by 80 per cent by 2030.

I think these are realistic targets.

As soon as we have a new Prime Minister in September, he or she must put climate change and business support for their journey to net zero near the top of their No 10 priorities list.

Last week’s heat and fires were a harsh reminder to us all. Climate change is not fantasy politics but the real world.