Updated: Sunday, 22nd September 2019 @ 6:10am

'Taking the lead': Manchester city council praised by CO2 co-operative for slashing carbon emissions

'Taking the lead': Manchester city council praised by CO2 co-operative for slashing carbon emissions

By John McDougall

After slashing Manchester’s CO₂ emissions, the city council has been heralded by a co-operative aimed at reducing the regions carbon footprint over the coming decades.

The Carbon Co-op, a Greater Manchester residents organisation founded in 2008, have praised the council coming fourth out of 2,097 organisations in the Environment Agency’s Carbon Reduction Table.   

Jonathan Atkinson, Carbon Co-op project manager, feels council’s must take the lead on such important issues and believes Manchester is an example the whole country should follow.

“I think it is really encouraging,” he told MM. “Especially in Manchester the council seems to be taking the challenge of carbon reduction in the face of climate change particularly seriously.

“I do not think it is possible for any one element of society to take action alone. It is really heartening they are taking real action and are taking the message to heart and is quite in depth. 

“It is really good that councils and the public sector are accountable to the people of Manchester and are taking a lead on that.”

The results were achieved after the council took steps including the installation of smart meters in offices and depots to make them more energy efficient. 

Two other Greater Manchester authorities – Salford and Bolton – featured in the Top 50 which measured their energy efficiency and year-on-year CO₂ emission figures.

Manchester’s weighted score was 1,886.70, not far behind planning and building firm BAM Group UK’s top score of 1,900.25.

The Carbon Co-op’s current project – the £500,000 Community Green Deal – is granting loans over the next month to undertake retrofitting work in households across Greater Manchester. 

Mr Atkinson feels the unique policies of the 50-member strong co-operative will help achieve their long-term goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.   

“We are taking a community bottom-up approach to household retrofitting,” he said. “It is groundbreaking stuff and no other organisation in the country is taking this community-based approach.

“We want to demonstrate it can be done in all kinds of houses from a five-bedroom detached house to an ordinary Victorian redbrick terrace.   

“By retrofitting for just a few tens of thousands of pounds, in the long-term householders are going to save money on energy bills and enable them to pay for these works.

“It is an exciting project to be involved in and it’s great to see the enthusiasm out there with the householders we’ve been working with.”

The news comes as Manchester’s ambitious climate change plan continues to gather pace as the city gears towards becoming greener.

A plan drawn up by the council – Manchester – A Certain Future – was compiled by more than 100 organisations including Manchester University and The Co-operative.  

Councillor Nigel Murphy, executive member for the environment, said: "We have become one of the first councils to embed low carbon thinking at the heart of everything we do, from developing services to monitoring what each department is doing to cut emissions.

“Our commitment to become more environmentally friendly will save money and show we’re leading the way in reducing emissions across the city."

For more information about the Carbon Co-op visit http://carbon.coop/.

Picture courtesy of FreefotoUK, with thanks.

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