The front cover of the Climate Change Strategy 2023

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2030 climate change strategy

In 2019, Portsmouth City Council declared a climate emergency with targets to make our council operations carbon net zero by 2030 and help our city to be on the same journey. Being net zero means removing the same amount of greenhouse gasses from our air, that we put in. 

Our city’s 2030 net zero target is 20 years earlier than the UK’s national target. This target is ambitious but also fair, as we recognise our city played a role in past emissions and know cities like Portsmouth can make a big difference towards climate action. 

By doing this, we are supporting efforts to ensure global warming is limited to well below 2°C, and preferably to 1.5°C, so that we can avoid the worst impacts of climate change. If you’d like to read more about the impacts of global warming, this recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is available. 

A recent survey showed that residents and businesses want us to lead a strong response. 84% of residents said they are concerned about climate change which matches the key outcomes from the City Vision engagement project. Residents want Portsmouth to be green, well-connected, with good homes, a fair economy, and for their lives to be active and healthy by 2040. 

These are big changes that need to be made quickly, so we need everyone onboard. 

Helping Portsmouth to be climate ready

A photo of Portsmouth, with the Spinnaker Tower in the distance

Councils like ours are typically responsible for approximately 5% of their area’s emissions, and we have committed to making our operations net zero by 2030. We also have an important part to play in helping Portsmouth to be climate-ready through:

  • meaningful engagement with our community
  • working with local businesses and other public service providers
  • our policies, standards, and enforcement powers
  • helping Portsmouth’s infrastructure to be ready for changing climates
  • campaigning and lobbying central government to enhance our funding, powers and climate change policy

Portsmouth’s climate is changing. Summers are getting hotter and drier, and winters are getting warmer and wetter. It’s also likely that we’ll experience more frequent extreme weather too, such as very heavy rain, drought, heatwaves, cold snaps and storms, as well as a continued rise in sea levels. 

Here are some examples of how we are making our city climate-ready across our five strategic priority areas:  

City travel and transport
  • Installing over 100 charge points in our streets for public electric vehicle charging 
  • Providing electric power to our port berths 
  • Swapping diesel for HVO in the waste collection vehicles 
  • Providing e-scooter, e-bike and push bike rental schemes 
  • On-street bike hangars and more places for people to park bicycles 
  • Gaining funding to electrify our buses
City homes, buildings and infrastructure
  • Retrofitting our social housing  
  • Free insulation to schools, community centres and businesses 
  • Creating a £30 million low carbon fund to finance city solar projects 
  • Creating the SwitchedOn Portsmouth services  
  • North Portsea and Southsea coastal defence schemes 
City businesses and the green economy
  • Bid support to the City of Portsmouth college to develop the NetZero Training Hub at Highbury College 
  • Partner in programmes delivering business grants 
City waste and consumption
  • City-wide doorstep food waste and used battery collection 
  • Provision of public recycling banks for cartons and plastics 
  • Using anaerobic digesters for food waste and create electricity 
City natural environment
  • Landscape design at Queen Alexandra Hospital, St. James’ Hospital and eight local schools 
  • Working with Wilder Portsmouth, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, Woodland Trust, Trees for Cities, and the Tree Council to provide technical assistance, bid support and community engagement 
City engagement and partnership

Find out more about how residents and businesses can also get involved 

Becoming a climate-ready council

Here are some examples of how we are making our council operations climate-ready  

  • Switching our diesel or petrol powered vehicles and tools to electric; or using lower carbon fuels 
  • Installing solar panels and battery storage systems 
  • Replacing 15,000 streetlights with LEDs 
  • Planting hundreds of new trees every year on the land we manage 
  • Creating an internal Climate Programme Board so staff can share knowledge, and work together to find ways to reduce carbon emissions 
  • Following by the Covid-19 pandemic, we support our staff to work flexibly and manage our offices more effectively 
  • Contingency plans to keep our services running during poor weather conditions 

Our climate awards and memberships

In 2019, Portsmouth City Council declared a climate emergency. Since then we’ve achieved a lot and been recognised for our efforts.

We have been awarded:


  • Special commendation, Council or Local Authority of the Year, Energy Efficiency Awards 2023
  • Special commendation, Fuel Porverty and Vulnerable Customer Support of the Year, Energy Efficiency Awards 2023
  • Special commendation, Solar PV Project of the Year, Energy Efficiency Awards 2023
  • Winner, Vulnerable Customer Support, Energy Efficiency Regional Awards 2023
  • Highly Commended, Council of the Year, Energy Efficiency Regional Awards 2023
  • Commended, Large Project (over 250k), Energy Efficiency Regional Awards 2023


  • Second place, Solar PV Project of the Year. EMA Energy Management Awards
  • Third place, Council or Local Authority of the Year. South East Energy Efficiency Awards
  • Special commendation, Fuel Poverty & Vulnerable Customer Support Campaigner of the Year. National Energy Efficiency Awards
  • Winner, Commercial Solar Project of the Year Award. Solar & Storage Live


  • Winner, Green Public Service Award. iESE
  • Winner, Energy Efficiency Project of the Year. Business Green Leaders Awards
  • Winner, Regional Council or Local Authority Body of the Year. South East Energy Efficiency Awards
  • Winner, Energy Manager of the Year (Public Sector). EMA Energy Management Awards
  • Highly commended, Energy Management Team of the Year (Public Sector). EMA Energy Management Awards
  • Highly commended, Vulnerable Customer Support Campaigner of the Year. South East Energy Efficiency Awards
  • Highly commended, Regional Housing Association or Landlord of the Year. South East Energy Efficiency Awards
  • Commended, Regional Small Scale Project (<250K) of the Year. South East Energy Efficiency Awards
  • Commended, Regional Large Scale Project (<250K) of the Year. South East Energy Efficiency Awards

We also joined many international pledges, initiatives, and campaigns.  These things, as well as local reporting, help us access resources and support us with taking climate action for Portsmouth. These included:

  • The CDP Cities programme – to disclose our climate activities
  • Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy – the largest global alliance for city climate leadership, bringing together over 11,000 cities and local governments. Portsmouth joins 61 other local authorities in the UK.
  • United Nations Race to Zero – a global campaign to rally leadership and support from sub-national entities to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. Led by the UN High-Level Climate Champions, all members are committed to the same goal: to accelerate climate action to halve global emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
  • United Nations Race to Resilience – aims to change global ambition for climate resilience and strengthen the resilience in vulnerable communities by 2030
  • ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability – A number of initiatives including
    • the Transformative Actions Program to help access climate finance and attract investment
    • Green Climate Cities offering individual guidance
    • EcoMobility Alliance to support sustainable mobility
    • The Carbon Climate Registry
  • The UK100 Net Zero Pledge – a network for local government leaders that seek to support the transition to net zero
  • WWF: One Planet City Challenge – to support greater ambition in city climate action