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

How your views are shaping Greater Manchester

The current GM Climate Change Strategy runs to 2020, with a key objective to deliver a 48% carbon reduction target (on a 1990 base). 

A three year Implementation Plan was produced in 2012 which concluded in 2015, requiring a new Implementation Plan to update our priorities and identify key actions from 2016 up to 2020. 

A consultation report for the new implementation plan was produced in 2015 and a public consultation was undertaken between mid October and mid December 2015.  

A significant level of detailed feedback was received via email and at our consultation events alongside 149 responses to our online questionnaire.

It is estimated that approximately 8000 people were directly engaged in the consultation process.

98% of the responses received came from individuals and organisations from Greater Manchester, 99% from UK. 

They represented a good range of private and public sector and a mix of genders and ages (including a few children). Around 15% were from people identifying as climate change specialists / campaigners.

Independent evaluation of all the findings has taken place, with a separate report produced on the consultation responses recieved which provides an overview of how the revised plan should take shape. 

The feedback received was generally positive, although it was felt that the Plan needed to be more ambitious and specific with greater emphasis on delivery in partnership with others. 

Conversely, there was also scepticism expressed as to whether the plan can actually be delivered by the 2020 timescales.

The key points from the consultation included:

  • Devolution of health, housing, transport and planning represents greater potential to integrate carbon reduction into wider plans and strategies, providing opportunities to better embed low carbon in regeneration and infrastructure programmes from the outset.
  • Overwhelming feedback that the plan should include actions from individuals and organisations as well as local authorities – this may require us to seek, from Low Carbon Hub Partners and key GM organisations, information on their short and longer term targets.
  • The Plan should contain a long term vision of what GM would look like if our targets are to be achieved.
  • Stable policy is ideally needed nationally as a springboard for the GM plan. Many expressed concerns that the changing national policy undermines GM’s ability to deliver the plan, if there is too much reliance on national policies. This can be mitigated by over-delivery on other areas within GMCA’s control. 
  • GM needs to continue to position itself to `go first’ with national roll-outs e.g. smart meters
  • There is tension between providing very detailed data to back up the plan with details of multiple delivery projects and identifying a big brush pipeline of enabling or infrastructure projects that GM can control.
  • The plan needs to reference existing evidence and strategies e.g. GM Housing Retrofit Strategy and Behaviour Change report that provide detailed data.
  • Communicating sufficiently without overwhelming is a delicate balance. Infographics could be used to greater effect to show data and evidence behind the plan. Communication and engagement is a recurring theme and will need to be delivered to different audiences, with a people-centred practice and behaviour focus.  A specific communications plan would be needed to bring the plan to life.
  • Behavioural change is important alongside the focus on emissions reduction. This is harder to measure and greater emphasis on how programmes of behaviour change can be delivered alongside physical projects and investments is needed.
  • Private sector companies want to be included and report their contributions to demonstrate leadership.  Community and NGOs want to harness their role through engagement at the local level. Trade Union submissions highlighted the reach to their membership. Routes to involvement need to be developed, creating a movement using new delivery models.

Areas of Concern

There were also a number of general areas of concern expressed by respondents:

  • A need to be more open and realistic about the required increase scale and volume of activity that will be necessary to deliver carbon reduction
  • Not enough actions to deliver the targeted reductions, recognising that some identified projects will likely not materialise.
  • The Plan is considered light on both adaptation and the relationship between air quality and carbon reduction.
  • Need to better identify the role of mass deployment of small actions (e.g. microgeneration) not just major schemes and initiatives
  • Concern that some actions were identified where funding was yet to be secured. Some of the actions are subject to devolution agreements which are currently being discussed with Government.
  • How do we measure progress against the targets? More metrics were requested on emissions contribution of different actions.
  • Whether the current analysis sufficiently took into account the impacts of population and economic growth

Setting future targets

Respondents gave an overwhelmingly strong signal (90%) that Greater Manchester should seek to set future targets that would position Greater Manchester as a leading global city on climate change.

This would mean setting targets both using a globally recognised methodology, and also ensuring that the level of ambition reflected in the targets is commensurate with leading global cities. No respondents suggested GM should set modest targets below national levels.

There is an international initiative to encourage companies, cities and areas to develop robust targets. It is proposed that Greater Manchester develops its overarching emissions reduction target and supporting targets using the same methodology.

Feedback also highlighted that any target set must be fully subscribed to at the highest level, and that the implications of the target set need to be both transparent and well-understood.

Related to this, the importance of the target being directly applied to decision making across Greater Manchester’s policies, projects and programmes, not just to climate action was also emphasised, particularly at the consultation event.

We anticipate that the final version of the Implementation Plan will be launched Springtime this year.


Discover more about the Greater Manchester Low Carbon Hub here.

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