Greater Manchester has been designated the UK’s first Low Carbon Economic Area (LCEA) for the Built.
Ministers have been working with environment and economic chiefs in the city region to be named as the UK’s fourth LCEA.
The Manchester Built Environment (LCEA) will build on the city region’s strong track record in regeneration in the built environment and its world leading university and research capabilities in the low carbon built environment.
Lord Drayson, Minister for Science and Innovation said: “Greater Manchester is a fantastic choice to be the next LCEA. The Manchester universities are known for leading research on the built environment putting the region in the best position to face a low carbon future, safeguarding jobs, stimulating growth and preventing catastrophic climate change.”
The LCEA will involve a five-year “retrofit” programme, which will be one of the largest initiatives of this type in the world – improving the insulation of thousands of homes and offices in Greater Manchester. Small-scale renewable energy technologies will also be installed and “smart meters” will be introduced so people can see how much energy they are using.
A ‘low carbon laboratory’ will also be established focusing on the research strengths of the universities along the Corridor – the Oxford Road area of the city – where new innovative technologies will be developed and tested. One of the most innovative areas of work will be the development of new finance initiatives such as mortgage products linked to carbon savings.
The announcement means that over the next five years Greater Manchester will become a world leader on this agenda and enjoy a range of additional benefits linked to jobs and investment, sharing its expertise throughout the UK and beyond.
The Low Carbon Economic Area in Greater Manchester will:
- save 6 million tones of carbon
- create an additional £650 million to the economy
- support 34,800 jobs
Initial work on the design of the programme has been carried out by teams from Greater Manchester’s commissions for the Environment and the New Economy alongside those from government including Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Treasury, Department for Energy and Climate Change and the Department for Communities and Local Government.
In addition, assistance has been provided by the Northwest Development Agency and the Homes and Community Agency.
Chair of the Greater Manchester Environment Commission Cllr Dave Goddard said: “This is an exciting day for Greater Manchester and everyone who lives and works here. “Achieving carbon reduction and sustaining economic growth is probably the greatest challenge facing us today. It is vital that we act now to ensure that we pay less later and pass on a healthier planet to future generations.
“Greater Manchester has a consistent history of being at the forefront of innovation, of finding solutions to challenges and I’m delighted that we’ve achieved agreement to make this announcement. Now we can get on with the work,” Cllr Goddard added.
Keith Davidson, partner at Pannone and Environment Commissioner said: “We are proud that Greater Manchester is taking the lead on this and to be associated with these initiatives. If we are to rise to the twin challenges of climate change and energy security then the solutions must be closely connected to other agendas, those of regeneration and sustainable economic development. This is what we are doing here.
“The spirit of innovation and enterprise which Manchester is famous for will put it in the vanguard of those world class cities tackling this vital issue.”
Chris Fletcher, Deputy Chief Executive of Greater Manchester Chamber, said: “We are delighted that Greater Manchester has been chosen as the first area in the UK to introduce this scheme. Not only will it benefit the environment but it will also boost the economy by supporting jobs and attracting investment.”
Robert Hough, Chair, Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), said: “Today’s announcement is yet another achievement for England’s Northwest, demonstrating the region’s keen sense of urgency in addressing the low carbon agenda. The announcement comes just days after the region was award LCEA status for nuclear.
“Working alongside AGMA and other partners, the NWDA is pleased to support the development of a delivery plan for the LCEA and maximise business growth. Essentially the LCEA will create significant economic benefits for the whole of the Northwest, increase job opportunities, boost innovation and accelerate the move towards a low carbon economy.”
Source: Northwest Regional Development Agency