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Getting to Net Zero Carbon Event

On Tuesday, 2nd March 2020, Nottingham Trent University hosted a panel discussion and workshop to bring together staff and students from both universities and Nottingham City Council along with members of the general public to explore pathways to carbon neutrality through individual and collective action.

SDG banner & attendees

The event

Approximately 110 people attended the event, which was organised by the Sustainable Development Team as part of Sustainability Action Week. We’d like to send a sincere thank you to all attendees, panel members and NTU’s Internal Event Team for making the evening a success. We’d like to also thank the Research Development & Knowledge Exchange team for supporting the event through Research England's Quality Research (QR) funding.

Panel Discussion

With Nottingham City Council's well publicised, ambitious plan for Nottingham to become the first city in the UK to achieve net zero carbon by 2028, the panel discussion focused on current and future plans to reduce carbon emissions at an institutional level. The panel was chaired by NTU’s Richard Bull, Deputy Dean of Architecture, Design and Built Environment and included representatives from Nottingham City Council and both universities:

  • Wayne Bexton - Head of Energy Services, Nottingham City Council
  • Charmaine Morrell - Sustainable Development Manager, Nottingham Trent University
  • Chelsea Sowden - Nottingham Trent University Student
  • Andy Nolan - Development and Sustainability Director, University of Nottingham
  • Lee Taylor - Environment and Social Justice Officer, University of Nottingham Students' Union

The panel opened with a short presentation by each panellist explaining what their respective organisation is currently doing to reduce carbon emissions and how they will work to support Nottingham City Council’s Carbon Neutral 2028 Action Plan. Attendees were invited to submit questions electronically or by notecards on tables. Encouragingly, 131 questions were submitted prompting a productive and informative discussion. Time didn’t allow all questions to be addressed during the event. As such a summary of questions and responses have been provided at the end of this document.

Roundtable Discussion

Workshop Session

Following the panel  Q and A session, attendees participated in a workshop session focused on the key themes within Nottingham City Council’s Carbon Neutral 2028 Action Plan:

  • Transport
  • Built Environment
  • Energy Generation
  • Waste and Water
  • Consumption
  • Carbon Offsetting, Resilience & Adaptation

Attendees discussed the key objective for each theme, and then generated ideas for achieving the objective through individual, institutional and citywide actions. Each table identified the key actions that they felt would be most impactful and shared this with the room. Some examples of these key actions are:

  • Affordable, public transport. Free bikes for students and youths. Improve frequency of public transport.
  • Make sustainable legislation for student landlords that they must meet in order to be allowed to rent their properties.
  • Be personally responsible for making others aware.  Educate yourself and others. Institutionally: provide time and resource for broad scale behaviour change. Citywide: make it consistent and make it easy. Environmental packs for developers etc.
Selection of Carbon Conference pledges

Personal Pledges

The workshop culminated with a call to action to encourage everyone to make their own personal 2028 Carbon Neutrality pledge and share their views about Nottingham City Council’s Carbon Neutral 2028 Action Plan by completing the online consultation survey.

A selection of pledges and questions can be seen adjacent.


In total over 130 questions, covering a range of topics, were submitted for the panel. Some questions were general, and some were directed at specific institutions i.e. Nottingham City Council (NCC), Nottingham Trent University (NTU) or University of Nottingham. Questions were reviewed and categorised into topics; general responses relating to each topic were sent to attendees in a follow-up email. Further details about each institutions’ sustainability strategy and activities can be found on the following links:

Questions directed toward Nottingham City Council have been sent to the council for consideration in future planning will potentially addressed at future events or through existing communication channels.

Let’s keep the conversation going

We’d like to thank you all again for taking part in this important conversation. We do hope this is just the beginning of the conversation as we recognise there’s so much passion, interest and commitment to advancing sustainability in Nottingham and beyond. We will host future events such as these to continue to explore what we can do as individuals and collectively. In the meantime we’d invite you to join us in the conversation by following us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or emailing us at Students and staff are also encouraged to join Green Rewards to learn more about how to adopt sustainable behaviours at NTU and in their personal lives.

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