Bluffers Guide To…. The November 2011 Progress Report on Manchester’s Climate Change Targets

 An 8 page report about the progress of Manchester City Council (MCC)  is making with its climate change plans has been released. It will be discussed at the Communities and Neighbourhoods Overview and Scrutiny Committee on the 13th of December (2pm, Commitee Room 11, Town Hall). Following council protocol, the report has been uploaded a week in advance and you’ll be glad to hear that it’s actually readable. (I have definitely seen a lot worse reports coming to the council committees!) To make your life even easier, we have condensed all the juicy bits of the ten-page report into a few paragraphs.

The report is split into two sections: Manchester specific progress and Greater Manchester (GM) progress. As you may know, MCC has committed to cutting carbon emissions 41% by 2020 and they have set out how they hope to achieve this in their delivery plan for 2010-20. Progress made so far include promoting sustainable travel (the extension of Metrolink, various cycling initiatives, teleconferencing), an Eco-schools pilot, the continuation of the Environmental Business Pledge project, commitment to carbon literacy programmes and plans to develop a ‘Manchester Green Infrastructure Plan’ in 2012.

According to the report, the council has managed a 6% reduction in carbon emissions in 2010/11 (the target was 10%) and a strategy detailing how the council will reduce the emissions of its own estate 41% by 2020 has been developed. The MCC Buildings and Energy Strategy 2011-2020 looks at retrofitting, smart metering and other energy saving initiatives. A Sustainable Consumption Plan has also been developed and this includes improving the council’s supply chain and the finalisation of the city’s Sustainable Food Delivery Plan.

Looking at the Greater Manchester picture, the useful background info is that the Greater Manchester Climate Change Strategy was approved in July 2011 and the region was also appointed as a Low Carbon Economic Area for the Built Environment back in 2009. As part of the work on the LCEA for the Built Environment, there are currently 11 energy infrastructure programmes being developed (heat networks, hydro and large-scale wind turbines). Carbon metrics are also being researched as part of GM’s Climate Change Strategy so that the local authorities’ carbon footprint can be tracked and reported more reliably.

Other examples of Greater Manchester progress include the current work to come up with a strategy for its ‘Low-Carbon Housing Retrofit Programme‘ which aims to deliver a 48% reduction in carbon emissions from the housing sector by 2020 and the ‘Get Me Toasty’ campaign to install loft and cavity insulation. The region has also been looking into how to make the most of the Green Deal (see our recent report on a ‘Greening the Green Deal’) and the implications of the government plans to cut the Feed-in-Tariffs for solar panels, which is mentioned as a “lost opportunity to provide more fuel poor tenants with free, renewable energy


It’s nice to see the council actually assessing its progress and looking back over the year to see what it’s done and what it still wants to do. It’s even nicer that rather than being written in bureaucratese, it’s in plain English. As you’ve seen if you read this far, there are lots if plans, reports, commitments, studies and strategies  in of the pipeline. And we already know that writing strategies is easier than implementing them….

The deadening and deafening silence is the lack of any analysis of what they haven’t been able to do. Looking at the report you’d think the council had a 100% success rate and nothing unravelled itself as too expensive/difficult or that the strategies that they use just weren’t right or effective.  With luck, the councillors on the committee will ask probing questions about what is missing, as well as what’s gone well so far.  Without admitting mistakes, after all, it’s impossible to learn from them.

What do MCFly readers think of the report?
MCFly will be there, at 2pm on December 13th– who will be joining us?

Arwa Aburawa

About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
This entry was posted in Climate Change Action Plan, GM Climate Strategy, Manchester City Council and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Bluffers Guide To…. The November 2011 Progress Report on Manchester’s Climate Change Targets

  1. Laurence Menhinick says:

    I was worried that such initiatives would take a backseat with councils’ reduced funding, but am really optimistic that commitments are being adhered to. Also it’s good to see that council buildings are being retrofitted – a clear signal that they are putting their money where their mouth is!!

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