The second day of Greater Manchester’s 2020 Green Summit focused on transport and energy, with active travel and local renewable energy high on the agenda.
The 2020 Green Summit, taking place online from 21-24 September, marks the progress being made towards Greater Manchester’s Five-Year Environment Plan and overall goal to become carbon neutral by 2038.
Each day focuses on a different theme, with the events available to watch live and on demand:
Monday 21 September: Natural Environment & Climate Adaptation
Tuesday 22 September: Green Transport & Energy
Wednesday 23 September: Water, Resources & Buildings
Thursday 24 September: Build Back Better.
‘The big shift’
Tuesday’s sessions focused on how the city region is shifting to renewable energy sources and reducing the emissions produced by electricity, heat and transport.
“As we look to build back better from this pandemic, accelerating progress on decarbonising the transport system and our energy supply both represent a real opportunity to create jobs at the same time as bringing forward our 2038 zero carbon ambitions,” explained Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham.
“That’s what we’re aiming for; clean energy to power our transport, to heat our homes. This is the big shift that Greater Manchester needs to make.”
Unlocking clean energy
Energy-related achievements within the city region over the last year include the GM Solar Together campaign, which has installed over 1MW of solar PV and battery capacity, and the start of the £17 million Unlocking Clean Energy in Greater Manchester project, which will fund the construction of over 10MW of new local renewable electricity generation.
Looking forward, several sessions at the Summit focused on the future of the energy network. This included a discussion on the ‘decarbonisation pathway’ recently published by Electricity North West, which shows how Greater Manchester might go about achieving its carbon neutral goal.
‘Turning off traffic’
On transport, much of the event focused on active travel and progress on improving air quality through Greater Manchester’s Clean Air Plan, which includes plans for the UK’s largest Clean Air Zone outside of London from 2022. The Clean Air Plan will go to public consultation in October.
Commenting on the impact of COVID-19 on active travel in the city region, Greater Manchester’s cycling and walking commissioner, Chris Boardman MBE, said: “In March, we effectively turned off traffic globally and in doing so unwittingly launched a planet-wide consultation on how we use our streets.
“Whilst all other modes of transport plummeted 60-90 per cent, cycling numbers rocketed, with regular spikes of 70 per cent higher than pre-lockdown levels. The significance of this cannot be allowed to fade away. We no longer have to speculate on whether spending money on cycling is worth it.”
In addition to emergency active travel measures to enable more journeys on foot or by bike during the pandemic, Greater Manchester has now completed the first tranche of cycling and walking schemes in its landmark Bee Network plan, with 82 more now in development.
Posted under General Interest, Carbon Reduction, Energy Efficiency, Environmental Technologies and Renewable Energy and Energy and Renewables on 23 September 2020