Greater Manchester Green City Region. Creating a greener, greater city region differently

Mayor addressing Innovation Zone

Five Year Plan - Playing your part

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 of an 80% reduction (on 1990 levels) by 2050. The Paris-aligned, science-based plan sets out how Greater Manchester will become one of the world’s healthiest, cleanest and greenest city regions. Its publication followed extensive engagement with residents, businesses and other organisations across Greater Manchester, which started before the 2018 Green Summit and will need to continue now to implement it.

To achieve the plan’s ambitions requires urgent action from everyone in Greater Manchester – from businesses and the public sector, to communities and residents. We all need to play our part to make our environmental vision a reality.

The plan has commitments from our public sector on how they will lead by example and make sure that everyone benefits fairly from the transition to a low carbon economy. The plan sets out commitments from Greater Manchester’s local authorities and health sector to reduce its own environmental impact (of its buildings, vehicle fleets and procurement, in particular) alongside a set of policy and delivery initiatives to support the city region speed up this transition and make sure its opportunities are available to everyone. These are supported by action from organisations such as the Environment Agency and Natural England in improving our natural environment and better protecting us from flooding.

We also need our businesses to lead the way, maximising the potential economic benefits from the transition to a low carbon economy. This includes increasing the efficiency of how they heat and power their buildings and produce goods/services, reducing the environmental impact of how their goods and staff travel and installing renewable energy and heating technologies at their premises. Staff can play a key role in driving this in the businesses they work for – several organisations have supported this by running carbon literacy training for their staff or promoting environmental volunteering.

As residents, we can all take what seem like small steps but which will add up to making a big difference across Greater Manchester. We can cycle and walk for short journeys and use public transport for longer ones. Where we do need to drive, we can car share or replace or petrol/diesel car with an electric one when we come to replace it. We may also be able to install renewable energy generation at our home and upgrade our heating system and insulation to reduce the impact of the energy we use. Our consumption of products that are made outside the city region, such as food, clothing and single-use plastics, can also have a significant impact on the environment – so we need to think about the products we buy and consume.

Even with all this action, the plan shows that this will only get us so far towards our aims and there is still a gap between the sum of these ambitious actions and our aims. To close this gap, we all need to work together in new and innovative ways – in how we develop new technologies, how way we fund and finance investment in deploying what already exists, how different sectors work together, how we increase the capacity and capability of our workforce and how we educate and change people’s behaviours. The plan is just the start of our mission to do this and the start of a conversation with everyone in Greater Manchester about how we work together to do that – and we all need to be a part of that conversation.

Download the plan here.

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