Greater Manchester unveils ambitious carbon neutral target

14 Jun 19

Greater Manchester’s goal to become carbon neutral by 2038 has been enshrined in an ambitious industrial strategy for the region. 

The strategy, developed by government and local leaders to increase prosperity and productivity in the region, includes a commitment to accelerate the region’s green credentials through the country’s first city-region clean growth mission.

The target puts the region 12 years ahead of the national ambition, put in legislation this week, to become carbon neutral by 2050.

The strategy aims to overcome barriers such as poor health and inadequate infrastructure to consolidate the city-region’s position in the digital and creative sectors, as well as advanced materials manufacturing, such as graphene, and health innovation – key sectors that have fuelled recent economic growth.

It also seeks to establish the region as a leader in health and care innovation and to provide opportunities in education, skills and employment that will allow firms to recruit and the population to reach its full potential.

Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester, said the strategy’s emphasis on carbon neutral living reflected Greater Manchester’s ambition to be the UK’s leading green city-region.

“We will show that these plans are not just the right thing for people and the environment but also right for our economy,” he said.

“We’re also setting out how advanced manufacturing along with the digital and creative sectors will now help to grow our economy and help us become a wholly digitally-enabled city-region.

“The local industrial strategy will enable us to drive our productivity and prosperity as we create the good, green jobs and skilled workforce that will power this thriving city-region’s economy into the future.

“We are putting together the pieces of the jigsaw to reveal the big picture – a Greater Manchester where prosperity, opportunity, health, hope and happiness are widely and fairly shared across all our people and places.”

Business secretary Greg Clark said the strategy would ensure Greater Manchester’s leading position in manufacturing was secured and built on for the next generation.

 “At the heart of this strategy is clean growth and Greater Manchester’s determination reap the rewards of the UK’s transition to a net-zero economy reinforced by the city region’s ambition to be the first carbon neutral city in the UK by 2038,” he said.

Mike Blackburn, chair of the local enterprise partnership, said the strategy increased the region’s potential for economic growth.

“It provides the tools for us to go further and faster, enabling more business births, increasing exports and innovation and continuing to lead the development of new industries by focusing on a shared set of priorities and ambitions into the future,” he said.

Adam Cunnington, managing director of Public Sector, a company which works with local authorities to help them develop homes on their own land, said: “Greater Manchester has always been a progressive region and we’re excited about seeing confirmation of the GMCA’s commitment to creating a carbon neutral economy 12 years earlier than the rest of Britain.”

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