Carla Denyer

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Carla Denyer is a British Green Party politician. She is a councillor for the Bristol ward of Clifton Down. She is most noted for her lead role in bringing about Bristol City Council's declaration of a climate emergency in 2018, which paved the way for a wave of similar declarations across the UK.

Early life

Denyer studied Mechanical Engineering at St Chad's College, Durham (2005-9).[1] She proceeded to work in the wind energy sector, working for a renewable energy consultancy, GL Garrad Hassan.[2][3] Prior to her election, Denyer's political campaigning included participating in direct action campaigning against SUVs in Clifton[4] and work in the UK Fossil Free campaign.[5]

Political career

Denyer was elected to Bristol City Council as a councillor for the Bristol ward of Clifton East (now Clifton Down) in the 2015 Bristol City Council election.[6]

Fossil-fuel divestment campaigns

Carla Denyer with Fossil Free divestment campaign, December 2016

Denyer developed an interest in ethical investment and specifically fossil-fuel divestment from 2012, through participation in the Quakers. Having participated in bringing about British Quakers' own divestment from fossil fuels, Denyer became a leading figure in the campaign to make the University of Bristol divest, first tabling a motion in her capacity as a city councillor sitting on one of the University's governance bodies in November 2015.[5][7] Despite initial defeats,[8] the campaign succeeded in March 2017.[9][10] She also participated in achieving the 2015 divestment of Bristol's Avon Pension Fund from fossil fuels.[11][12]

Climate emergency declaration

In 2018, Denyer took the lead role in bringing about Bristol City Council's declaration of a climate emergency.[13] This was the first such declaration by a UK council, and one of the first in the world.[14][15][16] Explaining the later declaration of climate emergency by the UK Parliament, on 1 May 2019, BBC news credited Denyer with the idea of first putting forward 'the idea of a local area declaring a climate emergency'.[17] Denyer's motion was described in The Independent as 'the historic first motion' which by July 2019 had been 'copied by more than 400 local authorities and parliaments'.[18] As of 2019, however, Denyer remained critical of Bristol's progress towards achieving its goal, and particularly of the planned expansion of Bristol Airport.[19]

Other activity as a councillor

Denyer continued campaigning on traffic as a councillor, focusing on cars parking in cycle lanes[20] and trying to introduce congestion charging.[21] Other prominent campaigning has included improving conditions for people renting their homes;[22][23] successfully opposing council tax increases for poorer taxpayers,[24][25] while seeking what Denyer has described as 'more ambition from the Mayor's Office in tackling austerity' by calling for the city to raise the top band of council tax;[21] trying to enable council workers to take time off to join the youth climate strikes;[26] and trying to introduce a tourist tax.[21]

EU and UK Parliament candidacy

In May 2019, Denyer stood as one of the Green candidates for South West England in the European Parliament Election.[27] The elections saw her no-platforming the UKIP candidate Carl Benjamin regarding a hustings planned to be held at Bristol University, arguing that 'while the protection of free speech is important, we have to guard against the far right taking advantage of it'.[28]

In November 2019, she stood as the Green candidate for Bristol West in the 2019 UK General Election,[29] participating in the Unite to Remain campaign,[3] leading to heated discussion as to whether she or the standing Labour MP Thangam Debbonaire was the more convincing candidate for pro-EU voters.[30][31]


  • 'Special mention' in the Local Government Information Unit's Councillor Achievement Awards in the category 'Environment and Sustainability Pioneer' (October 2019).[32][33][34]
  • The UK Local Government Association's 2018-19 Clarence Barrett Award for outstanding achievement 'for her work on the Climate Emergency motion which has been carried forward by councils everywhere' (July 2019).[35][36]
  • Big Green Politics Podcast politician of the year (2018).[37][38]

In 2019, Denyer was also nominated for the Bristol Diversity Awards in the 'politician' category,[39] and was involved in her employer's achievement of the Best Promotional Incentive Award in the 2013 Travelwest Sustainable Business Travel Awards for encouraging staff car-sharing.[2]


  1. 'News', Newswire (May 2018).
  2. 2.0 2.1 Robert Buckland, 'Recognition for Bristol firms that go extra mile to encourage sustainable travel', Bristol Business News (4 December 2013).
  3. 3.0 3.1 Fiona Harvey, 'Climate takes centre stage as Green party launches campaign', The Guardian (6 November 2019).
  4. Louis Emanuel, 'Climate campaigners place Asbos onto 'Chelsea tractors' in Clifton', The Bristol Post (31 October 2012), 4-5.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Carla Denyer, 'My journey with fossil fuels divestment', The Bristol Cable (10 March 2017).
  6. 'Green votes quadrupled in general election', European Union News (11 May 2015).
  7. 'Don't invest in fossil fuel firms', Bristol Post (17 November 2015).
  8. 'Demo in protest over uni link to fossil fuel firms', Bristol Post (2 December 2016), 2-3.
  9. Esme Ashcroft, 'People power Uni stops investing in fossil fuel firms', Bristol Post (10 March 2017), 16-17.
  10. Ellen Jones, 'Divest! Divest Now! An Interview with UoB's Fossil Free Society', Epigram (26 February 2018).
  11. Natalie Tuck, 'Avon Pension Fund to become ‘fossil free’ after successful vote', Pensionsage: The Leading Pensions Magazine (16 December 2015).
  12. 'Green action: Bristol City Council votes in favour of "fossil free" pensions', European Union News (18 December 2015).
  13. Matthew Taylor, 'Bristol plans to become carbon neutral by 2030', The Guardian (14 November 2018).
  14. James Ellsmoor, 'Climate Emergency Declarations: How Cities Are Leading The Charge', Forbes (20 July 2019).
  15. Julia Lagoutte, 'What next after declaring a climate emergency?', Big Green Politics Podcast (30 July 2019).
  16. 'Change starts here: Carla Denyer', Green World (9 August 2019).
  17. Lindsay Brown, 'Climate change: What is a climate emergency?', BBC News (3 May 2019).
  18. Alex Morss, 'If a city as green as Bristol will struggle to meet emissions targets, how can the rest of the country?', The Independent (July 19, 2019).
  19. Greg Dawson, 'Climate change: "I want to look my daughter in the eye"', BBC Politics Live (15 March 2019).
  20. 'Parking mad: 70 vehicles caught in cycling lane', Bristol Post (4 May 2018).
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 'Budget Greens call for higher tax on rich and congestion zone', Bristol Post (19 February 2018), 22-23.
  22. 'Call for clampdown on rogue landlords to be spread citywide', Bristol Post (19 August 2016), 14-15.
  23. Conor Shilling, 'Councillor calls for further landlord licensing in Bristol', Landlord Today (19 August 2016).
  24. 'Bristol council tax relief cuts could be 'illegal' say opponents', BBC News (17 August 2017).
  25. Adam Cantwell-Corn, 'Victory for campaign as mayor scraps council tax changes', The Bristol Cable (19 October 2017).
  26. Tristan Cork, 'Timings as School Strike for Climate plan to stop traffic with march through Bristol', Bristol Live (16 September 2019).
  27. William Rimell, 'EU Elections: What are you voting for? Here's our guide to May 23', Salisbury Journal (19 May 2019).
  28. Steven Morris, 'University cancels EU election debate over Ukip candidate', The Guardian (15 May 2019).
  29. Ellie Pipe, 'Greens Prepare to Fight for Bristol West as Parliamentary Candidates Announced', Bristol24/7 (16 September 2019).
  30. 'Why the Greens think they can win Bristol West in the 2019 election', Bristol Post (7 November 2019).
  31. Chris Jarvis, 'Why Greens in English marginals should vote Labour not Lib Dem', Left Foot Forward (11 November 2019).
  32. Jen Pufky, 'Shortlist unveiled for LGiU’s 10th annual Cllr Achievement Awards' (12 October 2019).
  33. 'Cllr Achievement Awards 2019' (5 November 2019).
  34. 'Two Bristol councillors nominated for national awards', Bristol Post (October 2019).
  35. Marianne Overton, 'Group Leader's Bulletin' (19 July 2019).
  36. Rebecca Hardy, 'Award for Quaker councillor', The Friend (25 July 2019).
  37. Julia Lagoutte, 'What next after declaring a climate emergency?', Big Green Politics Podcast (30 July 2019).
  38. 'Change starts here: Carla Denyer', Green World (9 August 2019).
  39. Tristan Cork, 'Who they are and why they won - the 32 winners of the Bristol Diversity Awards 2019', Bristol Live (20 May 2019).

External links