A champion of climate action for 40 years, HRH The Prince of Wales met Exeter’s own Net Zero Heroes  – local people inspiring bold actions needed for the city to meet its ambitious net zero 2030 target – when he visited Exeter on Monday 19 July 2021.

His Royal Highness joined three Net Zero Heroes and representatives of Exeter City Futures at a celebratory event to recognise the positive impact that community-led initiatives can have on the localised challenges of climate change. Held outside St Sidwell’s Point, the UK’s first Passivhaus standard ultra-low carbon leisure centre, the event also brought together Exeter City Council’s leaders in net zero and active travel, local low carbon transport providers, a primary care network and others, highlighting a city working collaboratively to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.

Mick Green, nominated a Net Zero Hero for his ‘Cycle Whatever the Weather’ campaign, said, “It was an honour to meet His Royal Highness and share my story about how I am getting people to choose their bicycle over their car. 

“I run my own HR consultancy, Endorse HR, in Exeter and was worried that my granddaughter would not grow up in a healthy and vibrant city. An off the cuff suggestion I made at an Exeter City Futures Connect event gave me the impetus to do something about it, and I launched ‘Cycle Whatever the Weather’. A small idea has grown into a collaborative project with Cartridges Law, Live & Move, Ride On, Exeter City Council and others working with me. We now have over 100 people sporting duck-shaped bells on their handlebars and choosing to cycle rather than drive in Exeter.”

Net Zero Heroes also meeting The Prince were:

  • Kalkidan Legesse, founder of circular fashion platform Shwap, nominated a Net Zero Hero for using her inspirational voice to help people understand the environmental and social impact of the clothes they buy and how to make better purchasing decisions
  • Dan Taylor, owner of Grocer on the Green, who was nominated a Net Zero Hero for listening to people in his community and, anxious that they would not have access to food during the first Covid lockdown, working with volunteers to deliver local, organic food for them

Rob Bosworth, Exeter City Futures Board Member and Vice Principal and Deputy CEO of Exeter College, said, “It is a privilege to meet and share with The Prince the amazing work of Exeter City Futures. The initiative is essential in developing Exeter’s Net Zero 2030 Plan. Community collaboration and bringing people and organisations together is integral to the success of the city’s carbon neutral ambition. Although a leading city, Exeter has a long way to go, and it is the community action and the partnerships we develop that drive this momentum and achievement.”

Director of Policy, Innovation and Engagement for Exeter City Futures, Lynda Wookey, said, “We launched our Net Zero Heroes project because it is vital Exeter recognises and celebrates the stories of local people taking action to reduce carbon emissions. Delivering the city’s Net Zero Exeter 2030 Plan needs everyone to play a role, and their incredible work is helping to ensure the city will remain a great place to live for all of us.”

Exeter City Futures launched the Net Zero Heroes initiative in April this year to recognise local people leading collective action on climate change. If someone you know is inspiring others to take action and reduce their carbon emissions, you can nominate them and find out more here.