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A major festival will take place next year to engage the whole city in developing a shared roadmap for a carbon neutral Exeter.

Exeter City Futures is working alongside Exeter City Council to develop a programme of activities for the Carbon Neutral Festival.

Achieving a carbon neutral city will require the involvement of individuals, communities, businesses and organisations all working together.

The City Council has given Exeter City Futures the responsibility of coordinating a city-wide plan (roadmap) to how the city can work towards achieving the ambitious target by 2030.

The Carbon Neutral Festival will involve a range of activities that will enable everyone in the city to jointly explore challenges and build understanding about the key changes that will need to be made.

Activities and the outputs from the festival will underpin a shared roadmap that addresses all needs and drives collective climate action.

The full design of the festival is still being confirmed and announcements about the final programme will follow shortly.

A microsite is expected to be launched later this year, with workshops that build momentum towards the festival likely to start between January and March 2020.

Deputy Leader Cllr Rachel Sutton, Lead Councillor for Climate and Culture, said:


“We know this is a huge task and that we will need the help of everyone in the city to bring about the changes needed to achieve it.
“We are excited to be working in partnership with Exeter City Futures to deliver this Carbon Neutral Festival – bringing the city together to help shape a roadmap, outlining a clear path ahead for a carbon-neutral future.”


In July 2019 Exeter City Council declared a climate emergency and committed to making Exeter a carbon neutral city by 2030. This ambition not only has the potential to benefit the citizens of Exeter but also make a vital contribution to our planet and future generations.

The Council is committed to leading by example, and is already on track to become an energy-neutral authority by 2022.

Liz O’Driscoll, Managing Director, Exeter City Futures said:


“I’m very proud that Exeter City Futures have been given the important role of developing a roadmap for the City to meet its carbon neutral ambition.
“A plan of this magnitude cannot be developed without the input of the people who live and work in the City on a daily basis, so it is vital that everyone plays a part in this journey.
“We’re excited to organise this event and hope to see everyone getting involved to help shape a collaborative roadmap for Exeter’s carbon neutral future.”


Following a tender process two organisations have been selected to work alongside Exeter City Futures to design and deliver the Carbon Neutral Festival.

Smith & Jones – a Strategic Brand Development and Communications Route Planning agency based in Devon, and Encounters – a Totnes based company of artists, producers, facilitators and change agents.

Penny Bagnall-Smith, Partner at Smith and Jones, said:


“Climate change is now a defining issue. It’s hard to imagine a more important challenge.
“Exeter, with its world-leading expertise in environmental science and its culture of collaboration is perfectly placed to create and execute a plan which will really make a difference.”
“We’re absolutely thrilled to be involved with this initiative, and we’re looking forward to working with Exeter City Futures to make the very most of this opportunity.”


Jenny Gellatly, Creative Associate at Encounters said:


“Encounters are really pleased to be able to contribute to such an important process for the City of Exeter.
“We look forward to bringing our experience of creative engagement to develop meaningful, imaginative and creative ways for people across Exeter to get involved in developing a plan for going carbon neutral, together.”


Exeter City Futures are hoping to provide a way for other organisations to incorporate their own events into the programme to create momentum and demonstrate wide-ranging collective climate action in Exeter.

The Carbon Neutral Festival and outputs are intended to align and feed into wider regional plans by Devon Climate Emergency Group to deliver a county-wide roadmap to reducing its carbon emissions, whilst also complementing the international response to the climate emergency that will be formed at COP26: Glasgow Summit 2020.