green city region

Greater Manchester at risk of missing 2038 net zero target without major Government direction change

  • Greater Manchester’s 5th annual Green Summit hears that the city-region is at growing risk of missing its 2038 net zero target - and the UK its 2050 date - without major change in Government policy
  • Reopening fracking risks trapping the North in a diversionary, backward-looking debate
  • Backing onshore wind, solar, green hydrogen and tidal power could make the North of England a world leader in green energy
  • Green Energy Task Force to promote community-owned energy schemes

Greater Manchester is at growing risk of missing its 2038 net zero target without a major change in Government direction, Mayor Andy Burnham has told the city-region’s 5th annual Green Summit today.

If the UK is to have any chance of becoming net zero by 2050, it needs to free up city-regions like Greater Manchester to go even faster, bringing forward new technologies and building the green skills base.

But recent changes in Government policy, such as reopening fracking and restricting solar, combined with the failure to back Greater Manchester’s 2038 plan with funding and powers, mean that the UK is now increasingly likely to miss its 2050 target.

The Mayor has today written to the new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt asking him to back Greater Manchester’s plans to build 30,000 net zero carbon homes for social rent, and retrofit thousands more, as a way of stimulating regional economic growth. He will say that the best growth is green growth as the jobs created will last for the rest of the century. Net Zero North West estimates that 85,000 new jobs could be created in Greater Manchester through a major home retrofitting programme. 

But the Mayor will also warn the Chancellor that the current backward-looking energy policy risks trapping the North in a diversionary debate and losing the opportunity to make it a world leader in green hydrogen, solar, onshore wind and tidal power. By supporting the region to move quickly on green construction and green energy, the Government could re-industrialise the North of England.

On 30 September, Greater Manchester became the first region in the country to produce and adopt Local Area Energy Plans (LAEPs) which provide a detailed roadmap towards net zero carbon for each of its 10 local authority areas.

To remain on-track to reach net zero carbon by 2038, the region will need to deliver the following measures over the next five years:

  • 140,000 homes with fabric retrofit 
  • Nearly 2 GW of additional rooftop solar panels on homes
  • 8,000 additional homes connected to heat networks 
  • 116,000 additional heat pumps in homes

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said

“Greater Manchester is famous for its history as an industrial pioneer and we are ready to lead the next Industrial Revolution for the UK. But we urgently need full Government backing for our 2038 target.

“Our plan to build 30,000 net zero carbon homes for social rent will create new jobs in green construction and green energy as well as solving the housing crisis. It is the right investment in the country’s future, and will create a template for other areas to follow, but we need to move now.

“Trapping the North of England in a backward-looking debate about fracking is the worst thing the Government could do at this time. It’s not enough for the Government to talk about growth - they must specifically prioritise green growth as green jobs will last the rest of the century.”

The Green Summit will consider opportunities for more local and community ownership of green energy scheme. To that end, green energy entrepreneur Dale Vince OBE has agreed to lead a new Green Energy Task Force to advise the Mayors of Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City-Region. It will be supported by Co-operatives UK and Climate Outreach. 

Mayor Burnham added: 

“Looking to the future, we don’t want people in Greater Manchester to be beholden to the big energy companies. As we decarbonise the grid, we see a huge opportunity to put local people in control of their own energy. Dale Vince is a true green energy pioneer and we are lucky to have the benefit of his advice on how we might do this.”

Article Published: 17/10/2022 12:56 PM