Bristol: Green Capital?

Bristol has been named as Europe’s Green Capital for 2015. Tom Heap finds out if local people will see real improvements in their city.

Trapeze artists and a high wire act on a bicycle, spanning two former warehouses, heralded the start of Bristol’s Year as European Green Capital for 2015. The award is a few years old now and goes to a city with outstanding green credentials and ambitions.

So how is Bristol shaping up for it’s year in the big green spotlight?

A year ago Costing The Earth asked what the award meant, and how it would impact and improve the lives of Bristolians along with those living around the city.

Now the award is here, so Tom Heap investigates whether there is substance beyond the stunts, gimmicks and planned festivals: are there radical plans afoot to put the environment in the forefront of Bristolians’ minds?

Solar Panels are appearing on roofs of council buildings across the city, projects and grants encouraging residents to insulate their homes are in full swing. Wildlife corridors are springing up, provision and distribution of sustainable food is gathering pace. There’s an education programme featuring Shaun The Sheep for school children, piloting in Bristol and available nationwide from September but the city cannot ignore it’s major problem: the traffic.

Bristol has some of the worst congestion in the UK, and with that congestion comes poor air quality, and this ultimately costs lives.

Costing The Earth asks if Bristol’s traffic conundrums are solveable and if, after being green capital for a year, the number of deaths in the city caused as a direct result of air pollution, will fall.

Presenter: Tom Heap
Producer: Martin Poyntz-Roberts.

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