Ahead of Greta Thunberg’s visit to Bristol to take part in a Youth Strike 4 Climate Change, Andy Heath, Partner and Head of Office agency at global real estate services firm, Cushman & Wakefield looks at the city’s environmental credentials and how the property industry is responding:
“Greta Thunberg’s visit to Bristol has shone a light on the city’s environmental credentials. In Bristol sustainability is more than just a buzzword, it is part and parcel of its heart.
Back in 2018, Bristol City Council was the first in the UK to declare a climate emergency, setting the course for it to become the Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year in 2019. In 2015 it was the first UK city to win the European Green Capital award. Bristol’s sustainability credentials were also in the headlines when it announced it intends to remove all diesel vehicles from the city centre by mid-2021.
Bristol is one of the UK’s most successful, innovative, creative and desirable places to live in the UK and boasts a young and dynamic demographic. We have been seeing property developers responding to these changing demographics and creating buildings which will meet the demands of environmentally-conscious generation Y and Z, including rooftop gardens, increased natural light and informal breakout areas. Occupiers are now recognising that a healthy indoor environment can positively affect employee happiness which in turn links to worker productivity and talent retention.
There is without doubt, the most exciting pipeline of development coming through over the next 2-4 years that Bristol has ever seen. These schemes will set new benchmarks for regional office buildings, meeting the exacting demands of the current occupier. As part of this, there are wider mixed-use schemes which will create new neighbourhoods, helping create a sense of community both within the office and immediately outside it. This is all focussed around the need to recruit and retain the best staff.
With Bristol’s economy on target to grow at the fourth fastest rate in the country in the next few years, ahead of the national average with a 2.2 per cent annual GVA until 2023, the city has never been in better shape to stake its place as the greenest city in the UK.”