Greater Manchester’s inaugural Green Summit on 21 March saw mayor Andy Burnham set out ambitious plans for a city where “all businesses need to become green businesses”.
The landmark event, which can be watched back online, took in the views of climate scientists, leading businesses, residents and government officials.
“A carbon-neutral city region needn’t be some far-off ambition, the reality is that we can’t afford to wait; climate change is happening now. A green future is there for the taking if we just take that first step to go for it”, Andy Burnham said.
“All businesses need to become green businesses, and the quicker we make this change, the bigger our economic and environmental advantage.”
Carbon, plastic, transport and green buildings
Key announcements and proposals from the summit include:
• Pushing forward an existing ‘carbon neutral’ target of 2050 by at least a decade, making Greater Manchester one of the most ambitious cities in Europe
• A ’Plastic Free Greater Manchester’ campaign to eradicate single-use plastics from 2020, supported by 43 hospitality businesses led by former Manchester United footballer turned property developer Gary Neville. Help will be provided to small businesses to buy reusable materials
• Doubling the size of the city region’s electric vehicle charging network, moving to a completely emissions-free bus fleet and investing up to £50 million in cycling infrastructure
• Committing to all new homes built across Greater Manchester to be net-zero carbon by a yet-to-be-specified date
• The UK Green Building Council to open an office in Manchester this year and launch a new local network to support sustainable buildings
• Public sector agencies to consider vacating premises that do not meet minimum energy performance standards
• Creating a ‘Greater Manchester Environment Fund’ via public and private investment to support action
• Continuing with plans for a public energy company that will invest in regional renewable energy generation
Speakers at the summit included representatives from the BBC, Environment Agency, United Utilities, M&S, UK Green Building Council, Wildlife Trust, Electricity North West, both Manchester universities, and a number of other local organisations and charities, including packaging manufacturer Duo UK.