Manchester City Council

Green and Blue

The first half of the week is very strongly linked to climate change, both mitigation and adaptation. Yesterday the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey, was in town. His first call was at the Town Hall extension where the refurbishment and conversion work is not only making the building far more operationally efficient and energy efficient, but also the first link of a series of heat networks that we hope will eventually cover the city. Then it was on to 1 Angel Square, the Co-op's remarkable new headquarters building, which at BREEAM outstanding will be one of the most energy efficient commercial buildings anywhere in the world. After a chance to listen to a range of Manchester people from both the public and private sector, the Minister then went to Oldham to hear about the energy switching scheme being very rapidly developed by Oldham Council supported by the energy unit here at Manchester City Council for the whole of Greater Manchester. The aim is to make it easier for Manchester people to switch to the cheapest tariff available and to help us tackle fuel poverty.

Tomorrow there is a green space conference at the Town Hall. Green spaces, trees in particular, will have a key role in keeping us cool as temperatures rise, as will more surface water, hence the importance of green and blue strategies in cities like Manchester. However, in many respects the highlight of the three days is today with the launch of Manchester's Carbon Literacy programme and the first graduation ceremony for some of the people from the fifty one organisations that have been involved in the pilots, hosted at Exchange Court by the Arndale Centre. The graduates came from third sector organisations like Emerge and Groundwork, the private sector including the Arndale Centre and the Co-op, and the education sector including Manchester Adult Education Service, Heald Place School, and Manchester Metropolitan University. 25% of the savings in Carbon emissions we need to make will come from changing our behaviour. This is not only good for the environment, it saves money at home and helps business become more efficient. The Carbon Literacy programme will help us understand the need to go low carbon and help us do it and the intention is to make it available to every Manchester resident and business. The first thirty Councillors will start their training on Thursday, and every member of Council staff will be trained starting with, over the next nine months, the two and a half thousand staff who will be transferring back from First Street to the Town Hall extension.

There are 8 responses to “Green and Blue”

  1. Mike Kirwin Says:

    Manchester City center has apporx 3% tree coverage. Yet it went a head and pulled down 96 mature trees during nesting season for the council owned first street development in the city center. Now the council finally recognises the value of trees, are there any plans in place to replace these lost mature trees and to improve tree coverage? Or are we waiting for the 30 councillors and 2.5k council staff to receive their training first?

  2. David Barlow Says:

    Mike Kirwin@
    Manchester has a continued commitment to tree planting across the City. Our tree audit, one of the first to be commissioned by a City in the North West, found that Manchester had nearly double the national average of tree stock , 15.5% as opposed to the average of 8.2% across 147 towns and cities surveyed nationwide (Trees and Towns 2 DCLG, 2008, Red Rose Forest, 2009).

    We have a commitment to plant at least 4000 trees a year in Manchester, but we usually exceed that. Since 2005, 42,144 new trees have been planted on known schemes, including 26 new community orchards and fruit tree groves plus 20,502 hedgerows trees.

    In terms of City Centre tree planting, which is more complex because of underground services etc, we encourage appropriate planting where possible.

    Working with Red Rose Forest and partners we are developing a Green infrastructure plan for the City Centre, but have already planted 48 new mature trees in and around First Street:

    16 Whitworth St
    20 Medlock St
    6 Chepstow St
    6 Portland St

    In the forthcoming 2012/13 planting season we will be planting over 8000 trees in Manchester, including new trees in the City Centre.

  3. franky Says:

    Here in west didsbury they are working on the pavements, but on Lapwing lane they have covered the base of the trees with tarmac. Will water soak through tis?

  4. Dave Carty Says:

    The First Street site is owned by Ask Developments who have as part of their redevelopment plans already planted 60 new trees. Further phases of work are due to start in the New Year and the final scheme will have some 132 trees on completion.

  5. Dave Bishop Says:

    Bishop's First Law: "An organisation's knowledge of, or concern for, its local environment is inversely proportional to its propensity to plant trees."

  6. outoftouch Says:

    the whole post is completely out of touch with MCC workers, with new rounds of VS/VER looming and increasingly pressured working environment and stress; what we need now is training on Carbon Literacy isn't it, just what we want to spend our times on. I am sorry but SRL you are very much out of touch

  7. Intouch Says:

    Well actually, this is a good news story for MCC.

    Concerned MCC staff noticed that the former British Council site (now known as First Street) was being redeveloped and that the collection of trees would be lost. The developers were approached and to give them their due, they gave us time to arrange for some of these beautiful trees to be rescued and replanted in Leisure Parks. This included Blue Cedars and Catalpas in Brookdale Park and Paper Barked Birchs in Queen’s Park.

    Once the developers were convinced of the value of the trees, they themselves arranged for some of the others to be replanted onto some of their own sites.

    Yes, it would have been better if the trees had stayed in place but certainly not a total disaster. We done good.

  8. Retrofit Frankie Says:

    It's one thing getting a cheap energy tariff, and it's another to put our efforts into retrofits that stop thermal bridging and the energy (and therefore our long-term resources - via heat) literacy leaking out of the fabric of our accommodation)
    Fuel poverty is not the only issue here - taking our housing into energy efficiency, such as the Passivhaus standard, will mean a conservation of resources, our money and the planet.



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