Combined authority will decide this week on whether to move forward with consultation for draft environmental framework as region seeks to be carbon netural within 20 years
The Greater Manchester Combined Authority has proposed that all new building developments in the city region are ‘net zero carbon’ by 2028 as part of a revised development strategy.
The devolved body, which is made up of eight principal towns and a number of other local and suburban centres, will discuss proposals later this week to decide whether to begin consulting on the revised spatial framework. This document is intended to set out clear plans to ensure the region can become carbon neutral by 2038.
Included in the framework plan are ambitions to reshape the city’s infrastructure in order to consider changing energy demands so buildings can be heated with a reduced carbon footprint.
The authority said, “Over time this will help shape important investment decisions and priorities. As part of this Greater Manchester has already secured substantial funding from government to deliver the infrastructure needed to make some housing schemes across the conurbation viable.”
Heat and energy networks are expected to form part of policies intended to realise a broader transformation of the region and its energy requirements.
The proposed framework will be formally considered by the combined authority’s leaders on January 11. The framework will then go out to a public consultation if approved.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham argued that the proposed strategy reflected a more holistic approach to tackle the environmental and economic challenges facing the city region at a time when parliament finds itself deadlocked over the direction of Brexit.
He said that city authorities were using their own initiative to detail how its ambitious carbon neutral proposals can be realised and amended from earlier proposals.
The Mayor said: “When we consulted people on the first spatial framework, the public were clear that we hadn’t got the balance right. We listened, reflected, and can now present a radical re-write as promised. It also lays the foundations for radical reform in other policy areas such as housing, the environment and transport.
“Together, we are harnessing the full power of the most advanced devolution deal of any city-region in England for the benefit of our three million residents.”
The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) said the revised draft of the strategy reflected the growing importance of national and regional strategies to tackle climate change, especially with the political agenda firmly fixed on ongoing Brexit uncertainty.
John Alker, policy and places director with the UKGBC said, “[the] announcement shows Greater Manchester to be a national, if not international leader in net zero carbon policy and is a typically forthright challenge to central government, which has dragged its heels on zero carbon buildings for most of the last decade.”
“As ever, the devil is in the detail, but this leaves no doubt about the direction of travel. This is a challenge that the industry can and should embrace, leading to better buildings for both people and planet.”
Manchester is one of several cities to set out ambitious carbon reduction strategies that will drastically impact the design and performance of buildings among a wider number of infrastructure changes. London and Bristol have also committed to their own carbon neutral targets. Bristol aims to become entirely carbon natural by 2030.