Climate Change Action Plan achievements outlined as anniversary approaches

Almost a year since Manchester City Council adopted its ambitious Climate Change Action Plan, councillors will examine the significant progress which has been made to deliver it.  

Since the plan, which aims to HALVE the Council’s direct emissions by 2025, was approved in March 2020 the Covid-19 pandemic has cast a long shadow across the globe. 

A report to the Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee, which meets on Wednesday 10 February 2021, shows that much has been achieved against this difficult backdrop.  

Highlights include: 

  • Completing the replacement of all 56,000 street lights in the city with low emission LED alternatives.  

  • Investing in 27 electric bin lorries to replace more than half of the refuse collection fleet and save 900 tonnes of carbon emissions a year.  

  • Installing electric vehicle charging points at the three biggest council depots to support the wider electrification of Council vehicles. 

  • Nearing completion of the Civic Quarter Heat Network, a shared heating system to reduce emissions and costs across prominent city centre buildings including the Town Hall Extension, Central Library and Manchester Central Convention Centre. When all buildings are connected it will save 1,600 tonnes of carbon emissions a year.  

  • Beginning work on the 6.5 acre Mayfield Park, the first new city centre park for decades. 

  • Completing and opening West Gorton’s new ‘sponge park’, designed to help prevent flooding and as a pilot for how nature-based solutions can help combat the impacts of climate change. 

  • Progressing the Buildings Carbon Reduction Programme to retrofit Council buildings to cut emissions and energy costs. Work to Wythenshawe Forum to install a photovoltaic array, meaning it is powered by solar energy, was recently completed and – and seven other leisure centres have been retrofitted.  

  • Securing a further £5.5m in funding for active travel schemes to promote walking and cycling, and better links with public transport, in the city centre and Wythenshawe.  

  • Opening the UK’s first ‘Cyclops junction’, fully optimised for cycling and walking, in Hulme as part of the development of the £13.4m Manchester to Chorlton cycle route.  

  • Getting underway the £1m Tree Action MCR programme, which will see thousands of trees planted across the city over the next two years.  

  • Piloting new procurement rules which give added weight to environmental considerations when the Council buys in goods and service from external suppliers, asking them to demonstrate how they will support the city’s zero carbon ambitions.  

  • Delivering carbon literacy training to around 1,000 staff. 

  • Working with communities in all 32 wards of the city to embed climate change action in ward plans. Three new climate change neighbourhood officers are being recruited to lead on local engagement work.  

  • Ensuring that schemes supporting the city’s climate change ambitions are right at the heart of the city’s post-coronavirus Economic Recovery and Investment Plan. Some £289m worth of schemes, including a proposal to retrofit 10,500 social homes over four years to cut carbon emissions and energy costs, are included. 

  • Meeting the target of halving the Council’s emissions by 2025 requires a reduction of around 13 per cent every year. In the year-to-date, based on the latest available figures, there has been a 25 per cent reduction in carbon emissions compared to the same period in 2019-20. This is a result of actions taken by the Council, the decarbonisation of the National Grid and the impacts of the pandemic.  

Emerging priorities for next year, 2021/22 include continuing to bid for external funding to help deliver projects and having a strong pipeline of further schemes to build on succeses so far, while continuing to move forward with existing projects. There is also an opportunity to radically reduce staff travel through the use of IT and new ways of working, capturing some of the changes required during the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Councillor Angeliki Stogia, Executive Member for Environment, said: “There has been strong and measurable progress since our Climate Change Action Plan was adopted last year.  

“While the Covid-19 pandemic has understandably dominated headlines, we haven’t lost sight of the urgent existential threat posed by the climate crisis and the steps we can all take to limit its impacts.  

“For the Council’s part we know there is still much more to do. But we have taken real and ambitious actions and we are focused on maintaining and accelerating this momentum. 

“The benefits of success will not simply be the city’s contribution to combatting climate change, as important as that is. They will include more pleasant and healthier places, cheaper fuel bills and jobs in the green economy - a real win-win for Manchester people.”  

The Climate Change Action Plan 2020-25 sets out the Council’s contribution over a crucial five years towards Manchester becoming a zero carbon city by 2038, building on previous work. It translates the Climate Change Emergency declared in July 2019 into a set of actions and complements the wider Climate Change Framework for the city.

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