02 Sep 2021

Race to net zero could have detrimental impact on indies, says Bira

Bira is concerned the race to become net zero by some local councils could have a detrimental impacts on indie shopkeepers.

While Bira is committed to helping its members become more sustainable retailers, it is also concerned some moves by local authorities could reduce accessibility to the high street.

Measures include high street pedestrianisation and axing car parking spaces. Case studies have been identified in Harrogate, Shaftesbury, and Perth in Scotland, amongst others.

Andrew Goodacre, Bira's CEO, said: "Bira supports a more environmentally friendly high street and is helping members to become sustainable retailers.

"However, we are seeing a race to ‘net zero’ in some local authorities, and our fears are that retail is not being considered with plans being developed that may be detrimental to the high streets.


"There is a huge drive to provide cycle paths and pedestrianised areas. Whilst this may reflect current trends, it does not necessarily result in more shoppers in the shops if accessibility is reduced as a result of these plans."

He added: "As part of the Covid restrictions we experienced traffic reduction schemes and ad hoc pedestrianisation - all resulting in less parking and less access to the high streets.

"On the one side such plans may encourage people to come to town for a coffee, a bite to eat etc. But it is difficult to carry shopping home on a bike!

"We need planners to talk to retailers about the plans and share ideas for reducing carbon whilst retaining use of the high streets for everyone."

What do you think? What's happening on your high street? We'd love to hear from you. Email

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For more information on how to become a more sustainable independent retailer, visit our Sustainability Hub.

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