Manchester City Council’s Leader has pledged his commitment to a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic for Manchester, with action to tackle climate change at the heart of the city’s strategy.
Sir Richard Leese confirmed that the issue of climate change was being considered throughout all the work which is being done to help the city to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. He also welcomed an offer from the Manchester Climate Change Partnership to be involved in plans to reset the Our Manchester Strategy – the strategy which underpins the long-term vision for the city’s future and describes how it will be achieved – in the wake of COVID-19.
Responding to a letter from Jonny Sadler, Programme Director of the Manchester Climate Change Agency, Sir Richard wrote: “Climate change is a major priority for the Council and is something we have worked extremely hard on over the last decade through the delivery of specific projects with our partners in the city.
“The Council and our partners have already undertaken a tremendous amount of work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and we are now firmly in the planning for recovery phase. We have been clear throughout this period that our climate change ambitions should be considered within all of the different recovery workstreams.
“As well as addressing the global climate emergency, we also believe that local action on climate change will help to create a city which is more economically competitive, resilient and inclusive.”
Manchester as a city is committed to becoming zero carbon by 2038 at the latest – twelve years ahead of the national target – and the Manchester Climate Change Partnership has produced a citywide framework for the next five years, setting out what Manchester collectively needs to do to play its full part in limiting the effects of climate change.
In March 2020, the Council’s Executive approved the citywide Manchester Climate Change Framework 2020-25 and also the Council’s own Climate Change Action Plan 2020-25, which set out how the Council will halve its own direct emissions over the next five years. A report detailing progress against the council’s plan was heard at the a meeting of the Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee on 22 July 2020 and will be published at www.manchester.gov.uk/zerocarbon.
The Manchester Climate Change Partnership will play its part in a citywide consultation, to be held in the coming months, for how the Our Manchester strategy will be reset. Climate change and sustainability are being viewed as “cross-cutting” issues, which, along with equality and inclusion, are to be considered across all of the consultation’s different themes.
Sir Richard Leese also addressed this week’s Manchester Climate Change Annual Conference, which examined how the green agenda can be placed at the heart of the city’s post COVID-19 economic and social recovery plan. Other speakers at the event, which was held online on Wednesday 22 July included: Dr Murugesan Raja (Manchester Health & Wellbeing Board, Manchester Climate Change Partnership); Natasha Mpofu (Manchester Climate Change Youth Board); Sarah Colenbrander (Overseas Development Institute) and Elaine Unegbu (Chair, Age Friendly Manchester Older People’s Board). The closing address at the conference was given by Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for the Environment, Planning and Transport, Councillor Angeliki Stogia.