Photo of the old college buildings on High Street in Oxford

Oxford awarded £265,000 to develop industrial net zero roadmap

Oxford City Council, on behalf of the Zero Carbon Oxford Partnership, has been awarded £265,032 from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.

The funding will be used to develop an in-depth plan, outlining how industry can decarbonise in line with the city’s net zero ambitions.

Oxford has a goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions across the city as a whole by 2040 – ten years ahead of the legal deadline set by Government. Overall, around a fifth (17%) of Oxford’s emissions are related to industry, with 66% of the city’s industrial processes running on gas. In order to achieve the 2040 target, there is a need to reduce industrial energy demand by 45% and electrify 50% of industrial processes.

The Zero Carbon Oxford Partnership is a collaboration bringing together universities, NHS trusts, councils, large businesses, further education, and community organisations – committed to achieving a net zero city by 2040.

The Partnership created the Zero Carbon Oxford Roadmap and Action Plan, which outlines the key sectors and milestones for the city needed to achieve net zero.

Oxford’s industry sector has a global impact and reach, but is made up of over 350 relatively small and diverse industrial sites over the city, and a few larger ones. Therefore, the unique needs of each site need to be considered.

The successful £265,000 bid from Local Industrial Decarbonisation Plans stream will expand on the initial Zero Carbon Oxford roadmap to create an industry specific roadmap and action plan. This will include the cost implications, and resourcing needs across the different industries in Oxford.

Oxford City Council will lead the project on behalf of the Zero Carbon Oxford Partnership, working closely with partners from BMW MINI, Unipart, Oxfordshire Greentech and Oxfordshire County Council.

The funding will help support Oxford City Council and partners to:

  • Develop a strategic industry decarbonisation roadmap that outlines the best way for organisations to work together and act individually to decarbonise industry in Oxford.
  • Establish a group within the Zero Carbon Oxford Partnership for relevant industry organisations to work together to deliver the action plan.
  • Increase the ability of organisations locally to deliver projects within the industry roadmap.

The successful funding bid follows a £150,000 grant that Oxford City Council and partners received last month to explore a new approach to retrofitting. Both projects are key in supporting Oxford’s journey to net zero.

The project is now underway and will run until December 2024. Local businesses are invited to complete a survey on their current processes, energy demand and plans to decarbonise or find more information by emailing [email protected].

“Our ambitions for Oxford were set by our Citizens Assembly and are unashamedly ambitious. But we have been making good progress towards our goal of a Zero Carbon Oxford by 2040. However, tackling industrial emissions – which are responsible for a fifth of Oxford’s emissions – will require industry specific actions and will be a challenge. This funding will allow the Zero Carbon Oxford Partnership to develop a detailed roadmap and plan to do this in a fair and effective way. I am looking forward to working with partners on developing this plan.”

Councillor Susan Brown, Chair of the Zero Carbon Oxford Partnership, and Leader of Oxford City Council

“BMW Group’s Oxford plant supports the Net Zero Oxford initiative, which promotes collaboration between the council, academia, and industry to reduce energy consumption and emissions. Sustainability is at the heart of all BMW Group activities, and we are committed to creating a carbon-neutral and circular future by working across the entire lifecycle of our vehicles. At MINI Plant Oxford, we are making significant changes, both big and small, to reduce our environmental impact and emissions.”

Andreas Kindler, Director of Finance and Compliance, MINI Plant Oxford

“As Chief Sustainability Officer at Unipart, I am excited to announce the involvement of Unipart in the Zero Carbon Oxford Partnership’s Industrial Roadmap and Action Plan (I-RMAP) project. This initiative perfectly aligns with Unipart’s commitment to collaborative decarbonisation. Engaging in key work packages, including emissions baseline development and stakeholder engagement, we actively contribute to achieving Oxford’s 2040 net-zero target. Our commitment extends beyond participation, with tangible outcomes anticipated within five years, including improved air quality and the preservation of economic contributions within OxCluster.”

Andy Pyne, Chief Sustainability Officer, Unipart Group

“As a network organisation, we know from experience that tackling complex problems that require technological, behavioural, and policy innovation can only be successful if done in partnership. Decarbonising Oxford’s industrial sector is one such problem, and we are thrilled to be working with other key institutions and the wider stakeholder ecosystem to understand barriers to – and successfully build capacity for – transformational change.”

Hannah Scott, Chief Executive, Oxfordshire Greentech

“Oxfordshire, with its strong record of innovation, is in an excellent position to lead the drive to net zero. I’m proud to be part of a council that has backed strong and effective climate action from the outset and is continuing to collaborate with business and industry for the financial, health and climate benefits of delivering decarbonisation for residents and communities.”

Councillor Pete Sudbury, Deputy Leader, Oxfordshire County Council with Responsibility for Climate Change, Environment and Future Generations