manchester foe logo

Greater Manchester’s carbon-neutral by 2038 target – are we on track?

event report

Ahead of the 2023 Green Summit on Monday 2nd October, Manchester Friends of the Earth produced our ‘Climate Report Card‘ (PDF).

This is our analysis of Greater Manchester’s progress with its Five Year Environment Plan (5YEP) (2019-2024) towards the ambition for Greater Manchester becoming ‘carbon neutral’ by 2038, and how we can avoid blowing our carbon budget for Greater Manchester.

Our Climate Report Card tables below show our analysis of the 5YEP targets compared to the key indicators displayed in the GM dashboard. See for example: How is GM progressing against the 2038 carbon budget? graph.

Target never met: “Since 2018 we have overspent our budget by 14.1 MtCO2 in total (yellow area above the line)”.

Climate Report Card

Manchester Friends of the Earth fully support Greater Manchester city region’s bold ambition to be carbon neutral by 2038, 12 years ahead of the UK Government’s target.

We recognise the challenges that the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and local councils face in reaching this ambition but we need both our local and national leaders to be braver and take the tough decisions needed.

We will continue to campaign for the UK Government to increase the resources, funding and leadership on climate and biodiversity challenges.

See also: How Greater Manchester will boost jobs, improve housing and cut emissions.

More information on the proposed actions outlined above can be found in the ‘Development plan’ section below.

Development plan — for next year(s).

Overall GMCA would benefit from developing a more uniform approach with their work — one that employs the SMART principles, with updates on each element being communicated to the public on a regular basis.

Could a request be made that all posts and reports prepared by this student include a date otherwise work will not be marked.

Subject PlanDetails and links
Carbon budget and emissions Accelerate the actions in the 5-year plan to deliver in line with the Tyndall carbon budget, and act now to deliver emission reductions of at least 15% per year.

In particular, 

Introduce a departure tax at Manchester Airport 

Ensure Greater Manchester Pension Fund divests from fossil fuel companies before the next Green Summit.
Ensure that all infrastructure plans, programmes, and investment decisions are in line with what’s needed to address the climate and ecological emergency. And in line with the city region’s carbon budget and carbon reduction pathway of reducing emissions by at least 15% per year and reaching net zero no later than 2038. 

A £5 per passenger departure tax could raise £100 million per year for climate action across the city region.

The pension fund has £1.6 billion invested in fossil fuel companies.  This money should be invested in the solutions to climate change, ideally in Greater Manchester.
Energy supply Accelerate delivery of new renewable energy capacity and set ambitious post-2024 targets.   Rapidly accelerate roll-out of heat pumps and focus any plans for hydrogen on industrial use rather than domestic heating.

Protecting workers and communities through a just transition from a fossil fuel-dependent economy to a low-carbon, nature-rich, circular economy.

See report, ‘Hydrogen’s role in Scotland’s climate journey’, commissioned by Friends of the Earth Scotland found that 98% of the global hydrogen market is fossil fuel-based.

The Local Government Association analysis suggests that the Greater Manchester region could benefit from 26,639 jobs over the next decade.    That includes a potential 4,535 jobs in low-carbon electricity, 7,988 in low-carbon heat, 1,144 in alternative fuels, 7,308 in energy-efficiency, 2,722 in low-carbon services, and 2,942 in low emissions vehicles and related infrastructure.
Transport and travel 
Deliver a plan that will achieve the WHO Breath Life city-region standard for air quality by 2030, including a charging Clean Air Zone for all polluting vehicles in the city centre region and introduce a Workplace Parking Levy..   

Develop a decarbonisation pathway for transport for Greater Manchester in the next year with quantified carbon reduction targets.
(2017) Greater Manchester becomes UK’s first BreatheLife region.   See ‘How Nottingham used a parking levy to cut congestion and raise millions.’

See for example:  A radical transport response to the Climate Emergency.

Implement a Low cost revolving retrofit loan fund.

Co-ordinate and simplify the planning process for External Wall Insulation and retrofit across the GM region.
Revolving loan funds (RLFs) are pools of capital from which loans can be made for clean energy projects—as loans are repaid, the capital is then reloaned for another project.

See Decarbonising Greater Manchester’s Existing Buildings (2019)  

Revolving Loan Funds (US)

ConsumptionAccelerate the increase in recycling rates, for example by introducing doorstep collections of food waste and all types of single use plastics across the city region.     Set more ambitious targets to recycle 70% by 2030 and zero waste to landfill and incineration by 2035.

Introduce a low carbon advertising policy on local authority and TfGM sites across the city region . 

Focusing on food waste and single use plastics would be a good focus given the multiple impacts of addressing these particular waste streams.           The UK government has now set a recycling target of 65% by 2035. In Wales the ambition is higher, with a target of 70% by 2024/25.  

See Are incinerators good for the environment?    

Ad Free Cities: Adopting ‘Low Carbon Advertising Policies’ and other anti-advertising measures can form part of councils’ efforts towards lowering emissions and reaching net zero goals. Liverpool City Council passed a motion banning high carbon advertising (ads for fossil fuels, cars, airlines and airports) in January 2021, and were followed by North Somerset and Norwich. In Cambridgeshire, a ban on advertising for fossil fuels is now council policy; as in Coventry City Council and Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.
Nature Accelerate rate of tree planting to 400,000 trees a year, to reach the goal of doubling tree cover across Greater Manchester by 2050   Halt the extraction and destruction of any peat across the region and work to restore the existing peat lands.   Agree a ‘plastic-free’ policy for local authority developments, which prevents the installation of artificial turfMore Trees Please: Why we need to double tree cover (Friends of the Earth)

The Greater Manchester Peat Pilot
Resilience and adaptation Work with all health and social care organisations to develop a robust plan that identifies and supports those in the community most likely to be impacted by the effects of climate change. E.g. “How Hampshire is prioritising climate adaptation and resilience“.  Hampshire County Council has developed 2 decision making tools including a climate adaptation tool that’s used to develop climate resilience in the area, for example in communities vulnerable to climate impacts.

The image below is the Development plan table that was included in the Climate Report Card (pdf) without the additional information and links shown above.

Find us on


Support Us

Donate or join us using a standing order or PayPal.

Twitter @foemcr