Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has announced his vision for the city region to become carbon neutral and one of the globe’s healthiest, cleanest and greenest city-regions
Earlier this week, HUNDREDS of residents, businesses and community groups – including 300 young people, from schools across Greater Manchester – visited the 2nd Greater Manchester Green Summit for the launch of the region’s environmental plan.
Andy Burnham used his speech at the summit to respond to calls from young people in the region – and across the globe – to take urgent action on climate change. The city region’s bold ambition is to be carbon-neutral by 2038, 12 years’ ahead of the Government’s own target.
The Green Summit took place at The Lowry Theatre, in Salford Quays. Around 1,800 people attended with thousands more are interacting during the day on social media and via the BBC online.
The Mayor set out how devolution can speed up the urgent action needed to be taken on climate change. As Greater Manchester’s Local Industrial Strategy continues to be developed, the Mayor will call for the Government to invest in the region’s long-term Environment Plan.
The Paris-aligned, science-based plan sets out how Greater Manchester will become one of the globe’s healthiest, cleanest and greenest city-regions. The radical Environment Plan follows extensive engagement, including last year’s first Green Summit. The Mayor highlighted not only the environmental necessity, but the economic opportunities for everyone in acting now including:
- The largest Clean Air Zone outside of London, covering a population of nearly three million people across 500 square miles.
- GM is also the first English region to come up with detailed proposals to substitute fossil fuels with low-carbon energy alternatives by 2038; as part of this all of the region’s ten councils are implementing planning policies which create a ‘presumption’ against fracking.
- The Greater Manchester Spatial Framework sets out plans for homes, jobs and the environment to support the city region’s 2038 carbon neutral commitment. A key element of this is to require all new development to be net zero carbon by 2028, as well as new measures for greater energy efficiency and on-site energy generation in new developments well before then.
- The investment in building retrofit and renewable energy required to meet Greater Manchester’s ambition could create 55,000 local jobs. This includes training the city region’s workforce with the skills to make Greater Manchester a global leader in the industry.
- Greater Manchester has also produced the first city-region wide plan to drive down avoidable single-use plastics. #PlasticFreeGM asks businesses, organisations and individuals to pledge to take action. More than 80 tourism and hospitality businesses have already discarded the use of plastic straws for the more sustainable `bee straw’, with nearly half a million sold to date.
Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, said:
“Young people across Greater Manchester and the rest of the globe have stood up and called for politicians to take urgent action on climate change. I want to say we are listening. I’m determined that we invest in young people and give you all hope for the future. Greater Manchester wants to be carbon neutral by 2038. Our plan is the UK’s first science based commitment for a city-region like ours, and one of the first of its kind globally.
“We have a science-based deadline and a deliverable plan putting us on a path towards it. Achieving our ambition will be very challenging, but it is the right thing to do. We believe this sets us apart from other UK city-regions and puts us at the top table globally. The big challenge is how we use the need to take fossil fuel out of our lives and economy to transform Greater Manchester so it works for everyone. That’s the challenge I have set myself as Mayor, and it’s the challenge that I am setting today.
“Cities and city-regions will make the difference on climate change and, in decarbonising by 2038, Greater Manchester can create a blueprint for every other city in the world. It wouldn’t be the first time. We can change ourselves, and we can inspire change in others. I say this to the people of Greater Manchester: come with us. Tackling a problem on this scale will need us all to work together.”
During the Green Summit attendees were asked for their feedback on Greater Manchester’s proposed new five-year Environment Plan. The aim is to deliver a boost to innovation, attract inward investment, create better jobs, and deliver healthier, happier and more prosperous communities with a better quality of life for all. Potential measures towards decarbonisation include:
- Residents, businesses & community groups signing up to the GM Clean Switch. The exclusive offer guarantees that 100% of the electricity sold is matched by energy from local renewables – sun, wind, water and biofuels.
- Become a ‘Citizen Forester’: the City for Trees initiative aims to plant three million trees in the city-region inside a generation – that’s a tree for every person in GM.
- Help clean up our air by leaving the car at home for short journeys: 30% of journeys in Greater Manchester less than 1km are by car. That’s a leisurely 15 minute walk or less than five minutes on a bike.
- Flexible, smarter solutions: GM residents will increasingly take their energy at different times as there’s a transition to electric vehicles, greener forms of travel and zero carbon homes using renewable energy like solar and heat pumps.
Leader of Stockport Council Cllr Alex Ganotis, Portfolio Lead for Green City Region, added:
“We face urgent and significant environmental challenges in Greater Manchester – the global impacts of climate change and environmental decline have been widely acknowledged as among the greatest economic and public health threats of this century.
“Our Five Year Environment Plan sets out how we will tackle these challenges in Greater Manchester, meeting our environmental responsibilities, alongside securing our economic future and wellbeing. To do this, it sets out a range of policies and commitments, as well as proposing actions that we all need to take to secure an excellent environment for our city region and contribute our fair share to tackling global climate change.
“Greater Manchester has a history of industrial and social innovation and we need to harness this to make sure everyone here can grow up and live in a clean and green city region, with good quality housing and secure jobs in the future economy.”
Other key speakers at the summit included: Emma Greenwood, Youth Strike 4 Climate pupil; Chris Boardman, Greater Manchester’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner; Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency; and Lemn Sissay, Chancellor of The University of Manchester.
Source: Greater Manchester Combined Authority https://www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk