23 January 2023

Burges Salmon has advised Bristol City Council’s City Leap project on a twenty-year joint venture with Ameresco, which will enable the delivery of over £1 billion of investment into Bristol’s energy system.

The deal involves projects that will transform how Bristol generates, distributes, stores and uses energy. Projects include expansion of the city’s district heat network, installing wind turbines and solar panels, retrofitting homes with insulation and rolling out heat pumps, ultimately contributing to a cleaner, greener city. Burges Salmon advised on all the legal aspects of the structuring, procurement, the concession arrangement and joint-venture agreement.

The Burges Salmon team advising on the deal was led by director Emma Andrews, along with Ross Fairley (head of the firm’s Renewable Energy team) and John Houlden (Head of Public Sector and Procurement), Camilla Usher-Clark (head of the firm’s Corporate Energy team), and senior associate Gregory Nash. 

Camilla Usher-Clark comments: “This landmark project will accelerate Bristol’s journey to Net Zero, and we are honoured to have been entrusted by Bristol City Council with working on it all of the way through, since its inception.  We’ve worked in very close collaboration with the in-house project and legal teams at the Council, and very much look forward to seeing the programme develop over the coming years.”

Bristol City Council launched the City Leap project in May 2018, with Burges Salmon chosen as its legal adviser later that year. The local authority has led the market in energy efficiency and investment initiatives since 2005, bringing in a new era of renewable energy generation, low-carbon technologies and energy efficiency. It met its 2020 carbon reduction target three years early.

Ross Fairley adds: “From the outset, this has been a ground-breaking project to help a UK city meet its Net Zero target in the coming years.  Bristol has always been at the heart of innovation in renewable energy but this goes much wider and we are proud and privileged to have been able to have worked alongside the Council.

Bristol’s Mayor, Marvin Rees, and Bristol's Cabinet signed off the City Leap deal between Bristol City Council and Ameresco Limited on 6 December 2022 (with Vattenfall Heat UK as an essential subcontractor), which sees a new joint venture firm created. At least £424 million will be invested into clean energy projects in the first five years of the deal, aiming to create 1,000 new jobs and reduce the city’s carbon footprint by at least 140,000 tonnes. This will support Bristol in meeting its carbon reduction ambition of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

Burges Salmon’s multi-sector teams deliver Net Zero legal solutions through market-leading expertise and experience in the key sectors that will need to come together to decarbonise including: transport, energy, land & food, and the built environment. The firm has established networks and strong relationships with leading industry bodies and organisations, allowing us to bring specialists together to deliver Net Zero legal solutions.

Key contact

Camilla Usher-Clark

Camilla Usher-Clark Partner

  • Corporate
  • Energy and Utilities
  • Co-operatives

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