New ECI report provides a roadmap towards Oxfordshire's zero-carbon future

New ECI report provides a roadmap towards Oxfordshire's zero-carbon future

A new ECI report has challenged Oxfordshire's key decision makers to embrace a number of new recommendations, aimed at supporting the county's drive towards a zero-carbon future.

The 'Pathways to a Zero Carbon Oxfordshire' report - created by the University of Oxford's Environmental Change Institute, alongside leading sustainability organisation Bioregional and backed by the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) - has highlighted several pathways for the county to achieve a zero-carbon economy by 2050.

It also showcases the considerable sustainability expertise that exists in Oxfordshire, underpinned by a thriving world-class innovation ecosystem.

The report places a spotlight on the challenges ahead in transforming the county's energy and transport systems, as well as the need to upgrade Oxfordshire's building stock and use of land for carbon sequestration. It identifies areas where change and investment is urgently needed.

Separate chapters within the report focus on themes including; innovation, transport, buildings and heating, renewable energy, and land use.

The report highlights the successful deployment of solar energy in Oxfordshire and calls for an expansion of up to 10 times current levels. However, the authors also point to sectors where progress on reducing emissions has been slow, including energy efficiency and renewable heating in buildings and in the transport sector.

They predict that the rapid uptake of electric vehicles in the next decade will help to reduce carbon emissions and dirty air, but emphasise the need for behavioural changes and infrastructure investment to drive uptake of active travel, shared mobility and home working.

Organisations to have contributed to the report include; Oxfordshire County Council, Low Carbon Hub, Cherwell District Council, Oxford City Council, West Oxfordshire District Council, South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils, Oxford Sciences Innovation, the Greater South East Energy Hub, Oxford Brookes University and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks.

Ahmed Goga, Director of Strategy and Programmes at OxLEP, said: "The launch of the 'Pathways to a Zero Carbon Oxfordshire' report couldn't be timelier with COP26 now just a few months away.

"This report offers our businesses and key decision makers practical solutions as to how we can create a zero-carbon future in Oxfordshire and - collectively - we absolutely encourage all communities from across the county to embrace it."

Professor Nick Eyre - from the Environmental Change Institute - added: "This report makes clear that there are different possible routes to achieving a zero-carbon economy over the next three decades, depending on the types of technological and social change we decide to pursue.

"What is clear though is that transformative change will be needed in the ways in which we use and generate energy; design and use transport systems, and plan our use of land."