Plans have been announced setting out how Manchester City Council will reduce its carbon emissions and contribute to citywide climate change action over the next three years.
The plans, agreed by the executive group of leading councillors on 18th March, will set out what the city council will do to become more environmentally friendly between now and 2018.
The report finds that good progress is being made in a range of areas to reduce carbon emissions, but further work in the coming years will aim to see greater reductions.
Around 1,000 members of council staff are now qualified as 'Carbon Literate'. This means that they understand the importance of reducing the amount of carbon used and the part they can play in helping achieve our climate change goals, creating individual and team plans. The training has also motivated those people to encourage others to take action.
The report confirms a proposal for a Civic Quarter Heat Network that will reduce energy use by sharing a centralised heat source - instead of each building generating their own - that will share hot water across the Town Hall complex and surrounding businesses. A delivery partner will be appointed later this year.
Feasibility studies for similar networks around the Co-operative Group’s NOMA development and the Oxford Road Corridor are also being commissioned. With further funding secured from Government this week to investigate a potential network around Piccadilly Station and to identify other opportunities across the Regional Centre.
The Corridor will also benefit from €10m funding through the EU’s Triangulum Smart Cities project. Planned to begin this year, the five year initiative aims to share energy, mobility and ITC systems across the Corridor’s partner organisations with a combined effort to reduce emissions.
City-wide, plans are in place to replace traditional street lighting in the next three years with LED lights to vastly improve energy consumption.
LED lighting has also replaced high energy consuming tungsten halogen lights at Manchester Art Gallery. Since 2009 the gallery has successful reduced its carbon emissions by 43 per cent through a range of energy efficient adaptions - including carbon focussed behaviour training for staff.
Significant investment has been secured for a range of public transport and cycling projects. The Velocity project has received £20m funding to make cycling safer and easier across the region, with a particular focus on Manchester.
Cllr Kate Chappell, Manchester City Council’s executive member for the environment, said:
"Good progress is being made towards reducing the Council's emissions as well as working on projects that will help to reduce emissions of residents, businesses and partners across the city. However, it's clear there are areas where we also need a stronger focus. New energy audits and behaviour change campaigns in 2015/16 will be really important in tackling emissions in our buildings this year and over the long-term.
"Despite all this good work it's disappointing to see that national Government is not playing their part. National Grid emissions have gone up and we expect that will have an impact on the emissions of the council and the city. It's critical that we see a decarbonisation of the National Grid. As well as this we are also working with Greater Manchester colleagues to develop exciting new projects which are set to reduce our emissions over the next few years."
City centre councillor Kevin Peel added:
"When the latest report on our progress to reduce emissions came before the Neighbourhoods scrutiny committee earlier this month I threw the challenge back to officers that with the Government not playing their part in bringing emissions down, we have to do even more in Manchester and really step up the pace. At my recommendation councillors will now be getting six monthly progress reports rather than an annual update, so we can more closely monitor how we're doing. I also want to see more information available about simple and practical things residents can do to reduce emissions and will be pushing the council to produce this."