Live in decent homes and sustainable communities


The housing offer is an important component of the local economy. Housing needs to be affordable in order to attract talented and highly skilled people into an area and to ensure there is enough supply to meet existing residents’ needs.

Housing Supply

Between 2006 and 2026 Bristol has a housing target of 26,400[1] additional homes, which equates to 1,320 per year. Since 2006, 7,037 dwellings have been completed thus surpassing the annual average.

House Prices

Average house price in Bristol:

  • Feb 2008       £189,889
  • Feb 2009       £155,542
  • Feb 2010       £168,466

Bristol’s average house price is still significantly higher than all of the Core Cities. In terms of affordability[2], in 2009 Bristol had a ratio of 6.35[3] of lower quartile house prices to lower quartile earnings compared with an England average of 6.28, again higher than the other Core Cities.

Sustainable Economic Growth

When economists talk of sustainable economic growth, they are usually thinking of low-inflationary growth that avoids an economic boom and bust. It is also important to consider the externalities (or impacts) of growth, both on the environment and quality of life of residents. Growth should be sustainable and within environmental limits, but also enhance environmental and social welfare and avoid greater extremes in future economic cycles.

Carbon Emissions and Air Quality

Historically, energy use and carbon emissions have risen with population and economic growth. However, changes to the UK economy will be required to meet greenhouse gas emission targets. Bristol is recognised as one of Europe’s leading cities with great strengths in both its Green and Digital sectors.

Bristol is a signatory to the Green Digital Charter, which commits us to work with other cities to deliver the EU climate objectives using digital technologies. Bristol adopted a Climate Change and Energy Security Framework in February 2010, which includes CO2, energy, and resilience targets for Bristol’s road transport, business/public sector and homes with clear accountabilities and monitoring.

Bristol has adopted a target to reduce CO2 emissions in the city by 40% by 2020, from a 2005 baseline. Bristol is the first city to have calculated its carbon footprint of ICT.

Bristol has the lowest per capita CO2 emissions of all the Core Cities.

Bristol is fairly average in terms of nitrogen dioxide pollution. Like many similarly sized cities, it suffers from roadside ‘hot spots’ where European limits are exceeded for nitrogen dioxide. Bristol, being a historic mediaeval city with a ‘cobweb’ road structure, has more hot spots than newer cities with a ‘net’ based road system. This is compounded by the limited river crossings through the centre and the rising hills surrounding the city, which trap pollution on still, calm days.

Return to Achieve Economic Wellbeing page.

[1] As the RSS is no longer material in considering the housing provision in the City, a paper was taken to the Bristol Development Framework Advisory panel on 26 July 2010, proposing a new housing target figure of 26,400. This is likely to be discussed further at the Core Strategy hearings taking place in September.

[2] Affordability is misnamed, as higher figures mean higher house prices.

[3] Source: Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ONS) and HM Land Registry. Ratio calculated by CLG.


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