COP26 is an unprecedented opportunity for the United Kingdom to present to the world a credible plan to reach net zero carbon emissions. In Greater Manchester, we are a model other towns, cities and city-regions can follow – showing how a green and growing economy can also be a levelled up one.
Reaching net zero is more than just an environmental issue. It will transform lives here in Greater Manchester and across the North: improving health outcomes, tackling deep-seated inequalities, creating good-quality long-lasting jobs and making our towns and cities better to grow up and get on.
I have never before been able to say to an aspirational young person that if you develop a certain set of skills you are almost guaranteed a job for life. But that time could well have arrived, because in Greater Manchester we are now creating opportunities for people to retrain in emerging green industries, such as our ambitious retrofitting programme. We are helping people acquire new skills and creating good green jobs right across Greater Manchester.
I will be in Glasgow this week to share Greater Manchester’s green story, and there is already plenty of evidence that it is one that resonates with investors and business leaders alike.
With Government support, we will hit our ambitious, science-based target of achieving carbon neutrality in our city-region by 2038. That is 12 years ahead of the national target of 2050 – we are setting a pace and others should join us in a race to net zero. It’s a race where all of us can be winners.
We plan to reduce carbon emissions by a million tonnes over three years and overhaul our public transport network with Government backing, delivering a London-style transport network with affordable London-level fares. This will be a gamechanger for our 2.8 million residents, a kickstarter of a green transformation.
We are making investing in Greater Manchester easier for those who want to come and work with us. I recently attended the Global Investment Summit, hosted by the UK Government to encourage foreign investment by showcasing the best of British innovation. I explained our distinctive approach: using Greater Manchester’s journey to net zero as the route to a more equal society and better lives for our residents. We want to achieve climate justice together with social justice. I was pleased with how many investors from major organisations came up to me to tell me that Greater Manchester’s approach was their approach too.
With frontier sector strengths across low carbon, digital, advanced materials and manufacturing, health and social care innovation, our city-region is already home to many of the world’s most innovative businesses and universities.
Greater Manchester is now seeking investment partners to support hundreds of millions of pounds worth of low carbon and net zero opportunities too. These include £35m plans for the local production of Green Hydrogen; a £155m investment in 85MWhp of solar PV and circa 50MWhp of battery storage; a £6bn programme to retrofit 250,000+ social homes by 2038, providing new jobs and skills and slashing carbon emissions; a £295m investment pipeline for EV infrastructure and at least 400 new low carbon buses by 2025.
The green revolution will help us tackle inequalities and we want the Government to back our ambitions to tackle climate change through our Greater Manchester Levelling Up Deal.
This is an opportunity for investors too. The door is open to those who want to join Greater Manchester on our journey towards net zero and a healthier, fairer, greener future.
Find out more at www.greenergreatermanchester.com/cop26