The Council and democracy Climate Change Action Plan - Annual Report 2020-21


This report provides an overview of progress made in delivering Manchester City Council’s Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) 2020-25.

All activity described in this report relates to the year April 2020 to March 2021, which is year one of the current five-year plan; however, emissions data is reported for the last twelve years (going back to 2009-10) to show the impact of decisions and actions taken before this period.

Key achievements

  • A £6.3m capital investment has been made into our estate to implement energy efficiency measures over a 2-year period (April 2020 – March 2022) which, once fully operational, will save 1,300 tonnes of CO2 per annum
  • £19.1m was secured from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) to support further measures to drive energy savings, decarbonise heat and increase renewable energy generation capacity in 12 Council buildings. It is targeting to save 1,800 tonnes of CO2 a year
  • A hydrogen boiler has been installed at Gorton Library to pilot this as an alternative to gas
  • A new Manchester Low Carbon Build Standard was developed to reduce the carbon impact of new-build developments and retrofit projects that we deliver
  • A feasibility study on the potential for large-scale renewable energy generation was delivered
  • A three-year programme to retrofit Manchester’s streetlights with LED lightbulbs completed
  • 2km of district heat transmission network has been installed for the Civic Quarter Heat Network (pipes, power and communication cables) along with the Tower of Light
  • £7.8m funding was secured from the Social Housing Demonstrator Fund, to retrofit hard-to-treat concrete construction homes in Beswick, in partnership with One Manchester
  • £9.8m investment was made into decarbonising waste collection and improving air quality by purchasing 27 Electric Refuse Collection Vehicles to replace 50% of the waste fleet
  • The first of the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Challenge Fund walking and cycling routes was completed in Manchester - improvements to the Princess Road and Medlock Street roundabout create a safer environment for cyclists and pedestrians
  • We are one of the first local authorities to introduce an additional 10% environmental weighting in our procurement processes, helping to reduce our consumption-based emissions
  • We pledged to be single-use-plastic free by 2024, in line with the Plastic Free Greater Manchester Pledge
  • 74 city centre traders at the Arndale and Church Street markets have committed to use consumables that are recyclable, compostable and biodegradable as part of their licensing agreements. 21 caterers across the City’s parks have also committed to reducing and eliminating single use plastics
  • The LED Christmas motifs used in 2020 as street decorations were recyclable, derived from sugar cane and recycled aluminium 
  • We planted over 1,000 trees, over 1,100 small hedge trees and 4 community orchards. The City of Trees received £2m DEFRA funds for new woodland planting across Greater Manchester
  • The ‘sponge park’ at West Gorton opened, creating a new community park that showcases nature-based solutions to climate change adaption needs. The natural flood alleviation measures were tested by Storm Christoph and proved effective at diverting excess rainwater into swales
  • The Carbon Literacy Project awarded “Sliver” status to our carbon literacy initiative
  • Over 300 residents across 32 wards attended community events focused on climate action
  • £52k from our Neighbourhood Investment Fund programme has been directed towards 41 climate action projects
  • We organised the second Youth Climate Change Action Summit, held at Manchester Central Convention Complex
  • £1.1m has been secured by Manchester Climate Change Agency (MCCA) and its partners to support community-led climate events and a climate resilience project 
  • Manchester was among the first cities to join the international City Business Climate Alliance initiative, a programme supporting business collaboration on climate action
  • An Economic Recovery and Investment Plan, setting out Manchester’s commitment to a green, zero-carbon and climate-resilient recovery was developed as part of the city’s response to COVID-19. 

Risks and issues

  • Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) funded works were contracted to complete by September 2021 and this extremely short timeframe presented significant challenges for us as well as the supply chain (£1bn of PSDS funds being deployed nationally). Government have since extended the delivery period to March 2022 and markedly de-risked the programme
  • The Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme faced several challenges including securing contractors, engaging owner-occupiers willing to consider new technologies and gaining access to homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. A request for an extension was unsuccessful so the programme has since been closed and the fund returned to government
  • The COVID-19 pandemic and a competitive job market led to challenges in filling new posts at Manchester Climate Change Agency. Recruitment has since been successful, and several key posts have been filled
  • COVID-19 has impacted on almost all aspects of delivering our Climate Change Action Plan in 2020-21. Despite the challenges, significant progress has been possible in many areas, however, some delays will impact on when some carbon savings are realised. A review of when these savings are expected to be implemented is underway with the aim to ensure that we remain on track with our targeted carbon savings and stay within the available carbon budget.
  • Whilst accurate data is not yet available for the wider city’s emissions (there is a lag in reporting from national government given the complexity of collating and assigning actual emissions to a local level), it is broadly understood that Manchester as a whole is not yet decarbonising at the required rate. Our action plan recognises the role that local government plays in enabling and influencing the city’s residents and businesses to play their full part in achieving zero carbon, and will continue to work with partners across the city, city region and nationally, to support an increased level of activity to decarbonise in line with our science based targets.
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