Manchester Climate Change Strategy:
Manchester’s second industrial revolution

Manchester Climate Change

Some city climate change strategies begin and end with greening City Hall and switching to a low carbon vehicle fleet.  Manchester City Council wanted to use theirs to drive a revolution in the city’s economy and in how the whole city is planned and governed.  We worked with senior officials and politicians to develop a new language and way of thinking about Manchester as a post-carbon city, and designed ten catalytic projects to build strategic capacity across the city’s many leaders and help put the city on a low-carbon trajectory.

In early 2008, Manchester City Council’s Executive agreed demanding climate change principles committing the city to reducing its carbon emissions by more than a million tonnes a year by 2020.  We were invited to help the city’s senior political and officer team to help translate those principles into a practical framework for action that would enable Manchester to make deep inroads into its carbon footprint while creating new economic opportunities, continuing its regeneration success story and helping to improve quality of life.

We helped Manchester’s senior team to evolve a new way of thinking about climate change, based on the opportunities afforded by a steady transition to a low-carbon economy for new competitive advantages, green-collar jobs and healthier, more active lifestyles.  Taking Manchester’s Community Strategy as the basic statement of the city’s ambitions, we demonstrated how a shift to low-carbon development could contribute to Manchester’s goals and help the city and city-region evolve a new international brand. We referred to global city exemplars to help make our case.

We devised a programme of ten catalytic actions to put this new approach tangibly into practice and build strategic capacity to make deeper cuts in carbon emissions over time.  Those actions include conceiving a world-leading sustainable neighbourhood in one of Manchester’s regeneration areas, creating an international Manchester Prize for applied sustainable design and exploring the potential for a conurbation-wide renewable energy services company.

In February 2009 we helped the City Council draw together its thinking in a ‘Call to Action’ on climate change setting out its position and providing the basis for engaging stakeholders and communities across the city in climate change action.  You can read it [here].