Stephens Scown’s head of energy, who was recently awarded an MBE for her services to renewable energy, is working with Bristol City Council on the delivery of its innovative City Leap project – a key part of the city’s aims to become carbon neutral by 2050.

Sonya Bedford MBE is using her specialist energy legal knowledge and technical know-how as part of Bristol City Council’s City Leap project. City Leap is a series of energy and infrastructure investment opportunities that the council is seeking local, national and international partnerships to achieve.

Bristol City Council has delivered a wide programme of energy efficiency and investment initiatives since 2005, investing tens of millions of pounds in renewable energy generation, low-carbon technologies and energy efficiency as well as meeting its own 2020 corporate carbon reduction target three years early.

“The City Leap project has the potential to deliver something truly transformative for Bristol, building a citywide energy system that will protect the environment and improve the quality of life for the people of Bristol. Being part of such an innovative project with such massive potential is incredibly rewarding,” said Sonya Bedford.

Both Sonya and Bristol City Council are award-winning. Last month, the council received first place for Local Energy Leadership at the National Green Energy Awards, organised by Regen. The award was in recognition of the council’s achievements in energy over the last decade and its commitment to achieving carbon neutrality.

Last year, Sonya won a series of awards for her dedication to community energy including being named Community Energy Champion at the Community Energy Awards, Energy Champion at the Energy Institute Awards and Environmental Champion at the Devon Environmental Business Initiative Awards.

At Stephens Scown, Sonya has built up one of the strongest energy teams in the South West. She was responsible for assisting in a large number of innovative projects in order to ensure the continued deployment of renewable energy including the first grid consortium in the UK, local supply initiatives and grid sharing.

In her spare time she sits on the board of five community energy groups including Exeter Community Energy, South Dartmoor Community Energy and Bath and West Community Energy and has just achieved an MSc in renewable energy.

The energy team at Stephens Scown has been recognised by independent guides to the legal profession Chambers UK and Legal 500.

Stephens Scown has over 300 staff, including more than 50 partners, across its offices in Exeter, Truro and St Austell. The firm has been ranked for five consecutive years in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For list 2019.