The Council and democracy Climate Change Action Plan - Progress Update Q1, Q2 and Q3 Apr - Dec 2020

Workstream #5 - Catalysing change

Action 5.1 Carbon Literacy

Carbon Literacy training was paused in spring 2020 as Covid-19 restrictions prevented the face-to-face element of the course from taking place. An online version was developed and accredited to enable training to continue throughout the pandemic; all places on the remaining training courses are fully booked until the end of February 2021. We are currently a Carbon Literate Organisation at Bronze level and expect to achieve Silver when the annual awards are made, hopefully in Spring or Summer 2021.

Action 5.2 Environmental Weighting in Procurement

This action is to roll out the additional 10% environmental weighting - see action 3.1

Action 5.3 Embedding Carbon in Decision-Making

Zero carbon has been recognised as a council priority and is being embedded into the Our Manchester Strategy reset and the council’s Corporate Plan.  

  • The Capital Gateway business case criteria is kept under review so that it can be altered and adapted as our priorities develop. The business cases requesting capital investment are now required to include a carbon measure, both for during the project progression stage and the ongoing lifecycle post-completion. The intention is that the carbon footprint of a scheme is considered as part of the decision-making process. This work is ongoing and will reflect the decisions taken by the Council on how it will meet the future carbon reduction targets in order to become carbon neutral by 2038. 
  • A Manchester Build Standard (see action 1.2) will be applied to all new build and refurbishment projects to reduce carbon emissions. This standard is intended to enable colleagues to draw out several metrics for inclusion within business cases and therefore seek to ensure that the carbon impact of capital decisions are transparent and fully understood. Work is ongoing to draw out the benefits committed within individual project business cases, commencing with projects which have achieved approval to spend since 1st April 2018 and which were procured through the North West Construction Hub. 
  • We have worked with partners including the Manchester Climate Change Partnership to develop an Economic Recovery and Investment Plan in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The plan sets out Manchester’s commitment to a green, zero-carbon and climate-resilient recovery. It proposes a programme of £289.4m that will support our zero carbon ambition.
  • We continue to embed the city’s zero carbon objectives into Strategic Regeneration Frameworks for those areas of the city that are being redeveloped. Examples include:
    • Wythenshawe Hospital Campus Strategic Regeneration Framework March 2020
    • St Mary’s Parsonage - Strategic Regeneration Framework July 2020 
    • NOMA Strategic Regeneration Framework Update 2020 
    • Refresh of the Ancoats and New Islington Neighbourhood Development Framework – Poland Street Zone July 2020 
    • First Street Development Framework Addendum 2020 July 2020 
    • Draft North Manchester Health Campus Strategic Regeneration Framework November 2020. 
  • Discussions around including climate change into the grants for Voluntary and Community Sector organisations and Cultural organisations have begun well in advance of the next funding round so that appropriate and tailored solutions can be developed.
  • Meetings with key environmental stakeholders in the culture sector have been facilitated by the EU-funded URBACT C-Change project and a range of tools and training courses are being developed to support culture organisations of all sizes, with £33,750 dedicated budget for capacity building.

Action 5.4 Community Engagement

Our Neighbourhoods team have been working with residents across all 32 Wards to embed climate action into Ward Plans. Where possible, public events have been held to engage with residents and local stakeholders. Over 300 residents have attended these, with others participating online. Many more residents have become involved with action-focused events such as tree planting or consultations on specific issues of concern; examples of these actions include developing local campaigns to encourage change including improved walking routes, increased recycling, reductions in illegal parking, more biodiversity and meat-free days. 
The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly impacted on the progress of the climate plans, Government restrictions have prevented communities meeting in groups and most volunteering opportunities have reduced. Effective engagement during the pandemic is a challenge, which is recognised across many wards.
Three new Climate Change Neighbourhood Officers are currently being recruited (one for each of the three area teams) to provide additional capacity on this agenda and to work closely with other colleagues in the teams. Despite these challenges £52,000 of Neighbourhood Investment Fund has been directed towards 41 climate action projects as part of 2020-21 programme. Examples of these include:

  • Friends of Fletcher Moss and Parsonage Gardens planting a "green screen" outside Beaver Road School and Barlow Medical Centre on Wilmslow Road to combat pollutants caused by traffic
  • Two advanced compost stations installed on both sides of Ladybarn Park to create better recycling and composting facilities. Sessions with local schools held to teach children the importance of composting.
  • Gardening Group funding for Harpurhey to increase food growing by developing a garden to benefit health, encourage greening, combat climate change and initiate enterprise. Sow the City helped the gardening group to build raised beds and compost bays on site and provided growing and composting workshops. The produce will be used at the onsite Community Grocer and Community Café.

The Neighbourhood teams have also worked with local partners and residents to organise Clean Air activities and continue to work with schools on the Junior Police Community Support Officers and anti-idling campaigns. Reducing the amount of traffic, particularly for short journeys and drop-offs at school, remains a major concern in all wards.

In January 2020 we organised the second Youth Climate Change Action Summit, which was held at Manchester Central Convention Complex. It gave pupils aged 9-14 years the chance to explore what they can do to help the City to meet its ambitious, science-based target to become zero-carbon by 2038 at the latest. There were 348 attendees from 49 participating  schools. 65% of primary schools and 35% of secondary schools sent delegates.

Over the Summer of 2020 the Manchester Youth Council (MYC) trialled the Kloodle app which includes a section on the environment to embed it into young people's learning and achievement online record: 20 young people used the app and 50 young people trialled the MYC Climate Wheel and Skills to Save the Planet during 2020. 

In September 2020, Manchester Youth Council won the North West Youth Focus - Most Committed to Saving the Planet Award.

In November 2020, a Youth Climate Summit was organised by teachers across the UK and facilitated by Transform Our World; it was timed to coincide with the time when our world leaders were due to meet to discuss climate change and the ecological crisis at COP26. This collaborative youth summit brought together young people from schools, organisations and youth groups to show that climate change is not dropping down our agenda. Engagement in the run up to the event consisted of a logo competition and an open invitation to help shape the programme and volunteer. Manchester Youth Council presented a 20-minute film to promote their Climate Wheel and Climate Charter.

The MYC Climate Wheel and Charter will be launched in April 2021. Packs will be sent to schools as educational resources to encourage them to create climate champions across Manchester with monthly competitions for the best Climate Wheel. MYC members will choose the monthly winner. 

A former Manchester Youth Parliament member has been selected by the BBC to become a climate reporter for Manchester, posting positive messages to encourage young people to tackle climate change.

As the key funder of the Manchester Climate Change Agency (MCCA), and a member of the Manchester Climate Change Partnership, the Council is also supporting the establishment of a citywide programme of community engagement activities to build local capacity to take positive climate action. 

  • The Council, MCCA, Hubbub, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, Amity and the University of Manchester have successfully collaborated on a development bid to the National Lottery Climate Action Fund. The Zero Carbon and Resilient Communities Programme has been awarded £206k of funding and will focus on several of the city’s communities, building on the work which has already been undertaken by the Council’s Neighbourhoods teams and working with the three new Climate Change Neighbourhood Officers. 
  • An additional £480k has been secured from a range of funders to support the communications and campaign element of this programme which will work with a number of the communities on specific projects and be run by Hubbub. 
  • £417k of funding has also been secured from the Arts & Humanities Research Council for a project on climate resilience using arts in partnership with the University of Manchester and is being developed alongside the Council’s Neighbourhood’s team in Miles Platting and Newton Heath. This 2-year project will work with the local communities to better understand how local policies and action plans can increase and support climate resilience and enable people to act on climate change. 
  • Manchester was amongst the first cohort of participating cities signing up to the City Business Climate Alliance. All these cities have a mayoral mandate to develop local city-business collaboration platforms with the aim to convene, set joint commitments, co-create and eventually implement projects that help cities deliver on their Climate Action Plans in line with the Paris Agreement.

Action 5.5 Citywide Communications Campaign

During August and September 2019, research was conducted by the Council’s Communications team to explore the attitudes, perceptions and behaviours of Manchester residents on climate change. 

  • Phase 1 was face-to-face quantitative research with more than 1,100 residents representing a balance of age, gender, ethnicity and geography.
  • Phase 2 was more qualitative research gathered from 3 focus groups, each attended by approximately 50 people. 

Together, these sessions helped to deliver insights on the views of Manchester residents towards climate change and what messaging would work to promote greater uptake of positive climate action across the City. These insights were fed into the development of the “Leaving Carbon Behind Campaign” which launched in July 2020. Its aim is to raise awareness of the climate emergency and promote positive behaviour change amongst Manchester’s residents, workers, businesses and visitors.  Social media has been a key channel for the campaign as well as advertising channels including:

  • Manchester Evening News, print and digital advertising
  • Outdoor digital screens
  • Outdoor adverts in local areas (wards were selected based on demographic makeup)
  • Bus advertising (external bus adverts on the rear and side panels of buses) on key routes across the city.

Action 5.6 Funding Manchester Climate Change Agency 

Additional capacity for the Manchester Climate Change Agency is being put in place and the new structure and posts have been approved by the Council’s Personnel Committee. A new Director will be in place in early 2021 and the other posts will also be filled including the crowd-funded Youth Champion role. A task-and-finish sub-group has been convened to ensure the new organisational and governance structures are fit for purpose.
A priority for the new Director will be to ensure that the organisation can become financially sustainable over the next 2 years and to expand the Partnership to include a wider range of stakeholders who can collectively contribute towards the climate change objectives and targets for the city. 
The overarching aim is for the Agency and Partnership to be the key drivers in making Manchester one of the first zero carbon, climate resilient cities in the world; providing a healthy, green and socially-just city where everyone can thrive. 

Action 5.7 Influencing Manchester Stakeholders 

We supported the Manchester Climate Change Agency to become a City Business Climate Alliance, and the Oxford Road Corridor to establish a Zero Carbon sub-group chaired by Chris Oglesby with a bid to ICLEI to fund a multi-system energy model. We also supported Corridor partners with the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme bid as outlined in Workstream 1.  
Meetings have taken place with the GMCA Director of Place, CADENT, Electricity North West and Stockport Council about the GM Decarbonisation Pathway and the opportunities to accelerate action and, as a member of the Manchester Climate Change Partnership, has supported discussions on “Green Recovery” to contribute to the Our Manchester Strategy reset.

Action 5.8 Supporting Schools with Climate Change

The planned events with Manchester’s schools to support them to decarbonise have had to be delayed due to Covid-19, however, these plans are now being revisited and webinars will be considered as an alternative.

Action 5.9 Influencing Greater Manchester Stakeholders

We continue to influence Greater Manchester partners and stakeholders through our membership of:

  • Climate Emergency / 5yr Environment Plan 
  • Decarbonising Public Estate
  • Green City Region Board & Partnership
  • Wider Leadership Team & Chief Executives
  • Challenge Groups including Energy, Buildings and Communications 

We also submitted letters to the Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF) in July and September 2020 urging them to set out actions to divest from investment in fossil fuels but, as yet, there has not been a formal response. Cllr Stogia, Executive Member for Environment, Planning and Transport has now written to her counterparts in other Greater Manchester local authorities to request a meeting about this issue and how they can work together to exert further pressure on the Fund. The issue has also been raised at the last two Green City Region Board meetings and, as a result, GMPF have been invited to attend the March 2021 meeting. 
In addition, a progress report has been requested on the decarbonisation of transport to be received before the end of the municipal year by the GM Transport Committee.

Action 5.10 COP26 in Glasgow 2021 

COP26 was due to take place in Glasgow in November 2020 but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A new date has been agreed for November 2021 and a proposal is being developed to consider the options for the Council’s involvement, which includes work with Core Cities, Greater Manchester and our local and international partners.

Action 5.11 International Networks 

Learning from other cities and positioning Manchester as a key player on climate change continues to be a driver for the Council, through our involvement in recognised networks and leading European partnership projects. 

Manchester is one of 10,434 city signatories to the Covenant of Mayors which brings together local governments that are voluntarily committed to implementing EU climate and energy objectives. It draws in worldwide multi-stakeholder networks with technical and methodological support.

We are also a long-standing member of Eurocities, the leading network of major European cities, and were represented by the Manchester Climate Change Agency (MCCA) at their Strategic Climate Roundtable in June 2020. 

We are participating in two European Commission funded URBACT projects: 

  • Zero Carbon Cities is a £688k project leading six European cities to adopt science-based targets to support their transition to zero carbon. The 3-year project is supporting MCCA to refresh the Manchester Climate Change Framework as well as delivering master classes for officers across the partnership. Manchester’s share of the budget is £330k.
  • C-Change is a £650k project working with five European cities to drive positive climate action through the culture sector. It's providing capacity building for Manchester Arts Sustainability Team (MAST) as well as for the wider arts sector in the city by offering tailored carbon literacy training. Consultancy from Julie’s Bicycle has enabled a review of the arts funding programme to introduce climate measures (see also action 5.3). Due to Covid-19 the project has been extended by 6 months to June 2021. Manchester’s share of the budget is £263k.

GrowGreen (see also action 4.2) is working with Valencia (Spain) and Wroclaw (Poland) to develop demonstration projects for nature-based solutions. The three cities are collaborating to learn from the different processes followed and to identify solutions to common challenges. In December 2020, the project hosted a webinar to introduce a range of resources developed by the GrowGreen and Ignition projects which can be used to support decision-makers, planners, businesses, and others in comparing green and grey options to choose the right solution for the challenge. Tools are also being developed to help other cities outside of the project to develop a Nature Based Solutions Strategy. Wuhan is also a non-funded partner on the Grow Green project working on the “sponge cities concept”. 

The Race to Zero is an international campaign to mobilise support for cities and businesses to make the transition to zero carbon by 2050 in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change. Manchester has joined the Race to Zero – alongside 454 other cities – and Sir Richard Leese signed a pledge on behalf of the City that outlines the actions Manchester will take to meet its environmental targets.

Action 5.12 Green Skills 

A ‘Skills for a Zero Carbon Economy’ group was established and met in March 2020, however, this work has not been progressed due to the major capacity issues resulting from the Council’s response to Covid-19, including work on the food response and business grants programme. This work will be revisited as soon as possible in 2021 and will form an important part of the City’s Economic Recovery and Investment Plan.




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