Ambitious plans to halve greenhouse gas emissions in next five years adopted

The council's Executive has backed a framework for how the city will combat climate change in the next five years and approved an action plan, setting out how the Council will play a leading role.

The city is committed to becoming zero carbon by 2038 at the latest, cutting out emissions of the greenhouse gases which are fuelling the climate change emergency - and Manchester Climate Change Partnership has produced a citywide framework setting out what Manchester collectively needs to do to ‘play its full part in limiting the effects of climate change.’ The framework is accompanied by tailored action plans from each of the Partnership’s 60 member organisations which together directly account for around 20% of the city’s carbon emissions. 

Getting to zero carbon requires halving emissions by 2025 and the Council’s Climate Change Action Plan sets out how it intends to achieve this stretching target - reducing the direct emissions from the Council’s buildings, energy use and transport from around 30,000 tonnes a year to around 15,000 tonnes a year in the space of half a decade. 

Councillor Angeliki Stogia, Executive Member for Environment, said: “The next five years will be critical if we are to avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change and this action plan sets out how we will play our full part in tackling the challenge of our lifetime.

“Taken together with the citywide climate change framework, it represents a practical and urgent response to this pressing challenge. It also recognises that there are real opportunities too - to do things in a cleaner, greener way which will benefit the health and wellbeing of people in the city. There is also scope to promote social justice and tackle disadvantage, for example through energy efficiency measures to help lift people out of fuel poverty. 

“Rising to those challenges is not something either the Council or the Partnership can do in isolation. Manchester playing its full part means collective action. We would urge everyone - from the largest organisations to the smallest businesses, communities and individuals alike - to get involved. Every one of us can make a difference.

“We are keen to engage with Manchester people, community groups and businesses to keep building on this plan, going further and securing extra resources to support it wherever possible.” 

Jonny Sadler, Programme Director for the Manchester Climate Change Agency, said: “The City Council adopting the framework is a big step towards limiting the impacts of climate change and creating a healthy, green, socially just city and it is a clear moment of international leadership for Manchester. It won’t be easy, but now we need to get on with it. 

“The Manchester Climate Change Agency will give our all to get every community, every school, every organisation and every Government department together on this journey, focused on making Manchester one of the first zero carbon cities in the world. That the City Council is adopting this framework alongside publishing its own action plan is a real statement of intent"

The Council’s Climate Change Action Plan 2020-25 sets out how it intends to cut its direct emissions from around 30,000 tonnes a year to around 15,000 tonnes a year by 2025.

These include: 

  • Spending £15m on the second phase of a Carbon Reduction Programme which will cut carbon emissions from council buildings by 3,000 tonnes a year, on top of 1,800 tonnes of reductions from completing the first phase.
  • A new investment fund of £1m will be created to plant new trees across Manchester. Trees play a crucial role in capturing carbon dioxide. 
  • The Council is also aiming to cut 7,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year through large scale solar and wind power energy schemes. Detailed feasibility studies will start soon. 
  • The Civic Quarter Heat Network (an underground heating system shared by the Town Hall, Central Library and other buildings) will save another 1,600 tonnes a year of carbon emissions
  • Switching to electric vehicles will also make a major contribution. The Council will initially replace half of its refuse collection vehicles with 27 new electric bin lorries to cut 900 tonnes of emissions a year with a further 100 tonnes a year saved by increasing the number of electric vehicles in the council’s fleet. 
  • Completing the replacement of the city’s street lighting with low energy LED lighting, a programme now in its final year, will save 220 more tonnes of emissions a year. 

Together with the council’s share of the estimated carbon emissions saving as the National Grid continues to reduce its use of fossil fuels, the estimated savings per year by 2025 add up to 15,820 tonnes. 

The plan also looks at how the Council can help galvanise the wider change needed through its powers and policies while lobbying Government for the funding and broader policy changes to remove barriers to cutting carbon. 

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