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Net Zero Week – Voices of our city – Satvir Kaur

Jul 04, 2023

The time is now to work together towards a lower carbon future for our region

In Southampton, we have huge ambitions to make our city greener and play our part in tackling the climate crisis. We are already experiencing changes in our weather patterns and know that if we don’t act now, by 2050 parts of our city will be underwater from rising sea levels.

It’s why we want Southampton to be Net Zero by 2035 and already have plans to be a Net Zero council by 2030. We’re working closely with our partners regionally and locally, businesses and communities, so that together we do all we can to not only ensure a more
sustainable and healthier future for the next generation, but be at the forefront of the skills, jobs, opportunities and investment it will bring to Southampton
and our region.

World-leading research from the University of Southampton shows the positive benefits environmentally, socially and economically of a Net Zero future. We can either be leaders or followers in the world’s journey to this destination.

With Southampton pioneering the first-ever district geothermal energy scheme in the 1980s (which we are still benefiting from), more recently having the first shore powered commercial port in the UK, alongside the National Oceanography Centre working with local businesses here to clean up the world’s waters and pioneer the newest green technology, we are most definitely already leading rather than following.

Being part of The Solent Cluster is about doing what we do well and doing it with purpose, with more meaning and impact. It can and will maximise the potential we have to not only use nature and natural solutions to the climate crisis, but attract billions into our economy, create thousands of new jobs and cement the region as leaders in this inevitable green revolution.

For me, there are three main areas towards a lower carbon future. Firstly energy, how we generate, consume and preserve it; secondly travel, and how we choose to get around; and finally, biodiversity, how we maximise our blue and green natural assets to be part of the solution.

Southampton City Council is being proactive in all three, and we see The Solent Cluster in enhancing these:

  • For energy, until the national grid is updated, we will always be falling short, however in Southampton, despite this we are developing our Local Area Energy Plan; focusing on making more homes energy efficient, from better insulation to solar panels, maximising our geothermal heat network, and using fuel free heating for new builds. Not only creating greener homes, but often making it a lot cheaper for individuals and families during the national cost of living crisis. Businesses are also being supported through grants to become Net Zero, offering value for money for all. Working with partners within The Solent Cluster will mean better infrastructure and the use of more renewable energy.
  • Travel decisions can often be viewed as controversial, but if we want to reach Net Zero, we will need an evitable shift in how we choose to get around. With the rising cost of fuel and an increased awareness of health and wellbeing, many of us are already increasingly using alternative ways to get around. In Southampton, over a third of residents do not own a car, and we want to ensure that, however you travel, it’s safe, easy, accessible and affordable. It’s why there are more electric charging points; road improvements that include better walking and cycling infrastructure; and we are working in partnership to make public transport cheaper and more reliable, with increased services and having some of the cheapest bus fares in the region. We are also thinking long-term, working with regional partners to investigate things like Metrorail and water-taxis, ideas that can be accelerated through The Solent Cluster.

  • Finally, our biodiversity is what kept many of us (including myself) going during the Covid lockdown. Southampton has over 100 parks, some of which are nationally recognised with Green Flag status. We are planting many more wildflower meadows, thousands of new trees, recycling more, while also trying to do our bit to clean up our waters through applying for bathing water designation. The Solent region is ideally placed to use our natural environment to form part of our climate solutions. Areas within the area like the New Forest, Solent waters, and recent Freeport status add to why The Solent Cluster can be leading in natural climate solutions, with local people benefiting from the skills, jobs, and healthier environment that this creates.

There is, of course, so much more to living more sustainably, but whatever motivates you. Whether it’s to live healthier, taking care of the environment, or creating the skills and jobs of the future – it will take every individual to play their part, and us working together, to make it a reality. It’s why as a council we have partnered with the University of Southampton to form a Climate Citizens Assembly, to ensure everyone has a chance to engage and have their say, so we can build a sustainable Southampton and take our city forwards together.

If you would like to know more about what Southampton City Council is doing and how you could benefit from current schemes, please visit: