Greater Manchester’s green summit took place in Manchester yesterday (March 21st), with several radical proposals put forward aimed at transforming the region into a green superpower.
The summit brought academics, climate change experts, politicians, local people and business leaders together, and proposals put forward at the event included the introduction of an emissions-free bus fleet, doubling the amount of charging points for electric vehicles, the creation of a Greater Manchester energy company and a pledge to build zero carbon homes.
‘It’s clear that we cannot just carry on as usual – the time has come for action,’ said Greater Manchester mayor, Andy Burnham.
‘A carbon-neutral city region needn’t be some far-off ambition, the reality is that we can’t afford to wait; climate change is happening now,” he added. “A green future is there for the taking if we just take that first step to go for it. For Greater Manchester, today is that first big step,’ said Mr Burnham.
A plastic-free Greater Manchester campaign was also launched, which will target both business and local people, encouraging them to move from using single-use plastics to renewable alternatives.
Mr Burnham said: ‘People have been horrified by the images on our televisions showing just how polluted our oceans and rivers have become through plastic waste. But this isn’t just happening on the other side of the world. Last week we heard the difficult news that Greater Manchester’s rivers were some of the most polluted. It’s clear that we cannot just carry on as usual — the time has come for action.
‘Greater Manchester is a region renowned for innovation, we’re large enough to experiment at scale, yet small enough to come together and innovate at speed. Just look at what we’re doing today the green summit is a unique event that’s brought all sorts of people together to reduce our carbon emissions, crowdsource ideas to make Greater Manchester one of the greenest city-regions in Europe.’
Former Manchester United and England footballer Gary Neville, who owns several properties, restaurants and hotels in the region, is backing the campaign.
Mr Neville said: ‘Reducing the use of plastics across the GG Hospitality portfolio is a key priority for us. We have already removed plastic straws from our businesses, including Hotel Football, all three Cafe Football sites and GG Events and Catering. We’re pleased to add our support to the Plastic-Free Greater Manchester Campaign and respond to the Mayor’s challenge of making Greater Manchester one of the greenest city-regions in Europe.’
‘This step is just the start, however. We are committed to continually help reduce the impact of plastic packaging on the environment and pledge to decrease our plastic use even further.’
For more information visit greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/greensummit