Five-year Council action plan to slash greenhouse gas emissions 

A radical and ambitious five-year plan spelling out the urgent actions the Council will take to halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 will go before councillors for approval this month. 

The Climate Change Action Plan 2020-25 sets out the measures the Council will take to reduce the carbon emissions from its buildings, energy use and transport from around 30,000 tonnes a year in 2019/20 to around 15,000 tonnes a year in 2024/25.

The plan also looks at how the Council can help galvanise the wider change needed through its powers and policies while lobbying Government for the funding and broader policy changes to remove barriers to cutting carbon. 

It will go to the Council’s Executive for final approval on Wednesday 11 March, having first been considered by the Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday 4 March. 

The plan will sit alongside a citywide Climate Change Framework which sets out how the city as a whole can reach the agreed target of becoming zero carbon by 2038 - 12 years ahead of the national target - and includes action plans for the 60 organisations which make up the Manchester Climate Change Partnership and together account for around 20% of the city’s direct carbon emissions. 

The target is in line with the international Paris Agreement to limit the global average temperature rise by 2100 to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels, aiming for 1.5C, to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. 

Planned measures include:- 

  • Retrofitting as many as possible of the 350 buildings in the council’s estate to radically improve energy efficiency. Finishing the first phase of this Carbon Reduction Programme will save 1,800 tonnes a year with the second phase cutting a further 3,000 tonnes. 
     
  • A large scale clean energy generation scheme involving the use of arrays of solar panels and wind turbines on council land and buildings, or sites in third party ownership saving an estimated 7,000 tonnes. A detailed feasibility study and business case will be prepared this year. 
     
  • The completion of the Civic Quarter Network (a shared underground heating system) and its connection to the Town Hall, Town Hall extension, Art Gallery and Central Library buildings will contribute another 1,600 tonnes a year carbon saving. 
     
  • Replacing half of the Council’s refuse collection vehicles, ageing diesel vehicles reaching the end of their lifespans, with 27 new electric vehicles through an investment of £9.95m to cut 900 tonnes of carbon emissions a year.
     
  • Increasing the number of electric vehicles in the rest of the council’s fleet to save another 400 tonnes a year and cutting 100 tonnes a year through reductions in staff travel. 
     
  • Completing the replacement of the city’s street lighting with low energy LED lighting, a programme now in its final year, will save 220 more tonnes a year. 

Together with the council’s share of the estimated carbon emissions saving as the National Grid continues to reduce its use of fossil fuels, the estimated savings a year by 2025 add up to 15,820 tonnes. 

As well as reducing emissions, there will be measures to help remove carbon from the atmosphere such as support for the Manchester Tree Action Plan which is setting out to plant 1,000 new trees, 1,000 new hedge trees and four community orchards a year. This will include planting in parks and council-owned spaces. 

There will be quarterly update reports setting out progress against actions identified in the Action Plan. 

Councillor Angeliki Stogia, Executive Member for Environment, said: “The world is waking up to the very real climate crisis which faces us all and Manchester -  never a city to shirk a challenge -  is determined to play a leading part in tackling it. 

“The next five years are going to be absolutely crucial. To achieve the ambitious goal of Manchester becoming zero carbon by 2038 we are going to have to make rapid and radical progress. 

“As an organisation tackling the climate emergency is one of our key priorities. But this isn’t something the Council can achieve by itself. For Manchester as a whole to become zero carbon by 2038 we need collective action and shared ambition.

“As well as playing our full part that will mean harnessing the power of the city’s people and organisations. I believe this ambitious plan is a very important milestone in our journey.”

The Council is not starting from scratch - it has already reduced its carbon emissions by 48.1% between 2009/10 and 2018/19 - but the action plan is a recognition that it needs to go further faster. 

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