The Greater Manchester Plan for Homes, Jobs and the Environment

Closes 18 Mar 2019

5. A Sustainable and Resilient Greater Manchester

We want Greater Manchester to grow in a sustainable way whilst also making the city region more resilient. 

This chapter looks at the carbon and energy policy, which sets out ways planning can help make Greater Manchester carbon neutral by 2038. We want to keep fossil fuelsin the ground and we do not support fracking.

The chapter also includes policies relating to heat and energy networks, flood risk and the water environment, air quality and resource efficiency. 

Full chapter and other information

As well as the full plan itself, we have prepared a range of documents that help explain the key parts, the reasoning behind our thinking, and the evidence we've used to put it together.

Find out more:

See also:


28. Sustainable development

Developments need to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs and this plan has been drawn up with this approach in mind.

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Policy GM-S 1

Development should aim to maximise its economic, social and environmental benefits simultaneously, minimise its adverse impacts and actively seek opportunities to secure net gains across each of the different objectives.

Preference will be given to using previously-developed (brownfield) land to meet development needs.

Do you agree with our proposed policy for sustainable development? 

29. Carbon and energy

We are aiming for Greater Manchester to be carbon neutral by 2038. This plan has an important role to play in supporting this ambition. 

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Policy GM-S 2

The aim of delivering a carbon neutral Greater Manchester no later than 2038, with a dramatic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, will be supported through a range of measures including:

  1. Securing a sustainable pattern of development;
  2. Promoting the retrofitting of existing buildings with measures to improve energy efficiency and generate renewable and low carbon energy;
  3. Taking a positive approach to renewable and low carbon energy schemes;
  4. Keeping fossil fuels in the ground;
  5. Planning for a balanced and smart electricity grid by identifying geographical locations which could support energy assets;
  6. Increasing carbon sequestration through the restoration of peat-based habitats, woodland management and tree-planting;
  7. Development of Local Energy Area plans to develop cost effective pathways to achieve carbon targets; and
  8. An expectation that new development will:
    1. Be zero net carbon from 2028 by following the energy hierarchy (with any residual carbon emissions offset), which in order of importance seeks to:
      1. Minimise energy demand;
      2. Maximise energy efficiency;
      3. Utilise renewable energy;
      4. Utilise low carbon energy; and
      5. Utilise other energy sources.

      With an interim requirement that all new dwellings should seek a 19% carbon reduction against Part L of the 2013 Building Regulations

    2. Incorporate adequate electric vehicle charging points to meet likely long-term demand
    3. Where practicable, connect to renewable/ low carbon heat and energy network
    4. Achieve a minimum 20% reduction in carbon emissions (based on the dwelling emission or building emissions rates) through the use of on site or nearby renewable and/ or low carbon technologies; and 
    5. Include a carbon assessment to demonstrate how the design and layout of the development sought to maximize reductions in whole life CO2 equivalent carbon emissions.

District Local Plans may set out specific carbon emission reduction targets or promote other measures through which energy efficiency of buildings can be achieved.

Do you agree with our proposed policy for carbon and energy?

30. Heat and energy networks

Around two-thirds of Greater Manchester's carbon emissions come from domestic and commercial buildings and heat/energy networks are a cost-effective solution to this and could also create growth in the Low Carbon sector. 

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Policy GM-S 3

The provision of decentralised energy infrastructure is critical to the delivery of Greater Manchester’s objectives for low carbon growth, carbon reductions and an increase in local energy generation. The following measures will help to achieve this:

  1. Delivery of renewable and low carbon energy schemes will be supported with particular emphasis on the use of decentralised energy networks in areas identified as “Heat and Energy Network Opportunity Areas”. These will be identified where:
    1. Existing heat/energy networks are operational or have been commissioned;
    2. Proposals for new heat networks/energy networks are being progressed, or future opportunities have been identified in city-region master planning.
    3. Sufficient density of existing heat demand occurs; and
    4. Significant future development is proposed at the strategic development locations.
  2. Within the identified “Heat and Energy Network Opportunity Areas”, there will be:
    1. A requirement that new residential developments over 10 dwellings or other developments over 1,000 m2 floorspace should evaluate the viability of:
      1. Connecting to an existing or planned heat/energy network (where such a network has been identified within the Heat Network Opportunity Areas); and/or
      2. Installing a site-wide or communal heat/energy network solution.
    2. A requirement, where unviable to connect to an existing network or install a site-wide or communal heat/energy network, for new development to incorporate appropriate capability to enable future connection (e.g. adequate space in plant-room for plate heat exchangers, capped-off flow/return connections);
    3. A ‘presumption in favour of network connection’ where new residential developments over 10 dwellings and other developments over 1,000 sq m floorspace are within 500m of an existing heat network, or where a network is being delivered;
    4. An expectation that new industrial development will demonstrate that opportunities for using waste heat locally have been fully examined, and included in proposals unless proven to not be viable;
    5. An expectation that where publicly-owned buildings and assets adjoin new major development sites, opportunities for these buildings and assets to connect to site-wide proposals will be considered;
    6. An expectation that any site-wide networks will be designed so as to enable future expansion to adjoining buildings or assets as appropriate.
  3. In support of the above, all decentralised heat/energy network viability assessments are required to demonstrate consideration and analysis of:
    1. Identification of existing and proposed heat/energy loads;
    2. Identification of heat/energy supply sources;
    3. Identification of opportunities to utilise renewable and low carbon energy sources;
    4. Identification of opportunities to utilise waste and secondary heat sources;
    5. Impact of proposals and technology choices on local air quality;
    6. Design according to national best practice in relation to efficient heat network design (e.g. CIBSE CP1 Heat Networks: Code of Practice for the UK, or equivalent); and
    7. Adopting appropriate consumer protection standards (e.g. HeatTrust, or equivalent).

Map: Heat and energy network opportunities

Map not working?

Do you agree with our proposed policy for heat and energy networks?

31. Resilience

Flooding, hazardous materials accidents, terrorism and disease outbreaks are just some of the significant resilience challenges faced in Greater Manchester. The way we develop will have a significant impact on future levels of risk and vulnerability and the ability of people and places to recover from these shocks. 

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Policy GM-S 4

The development of Greater Manchester will be managed so as to increase considerably the capacity of its citizens, communities, businesses and infrastructure to survive, adapt and grow in the face of physical, social, economic and environmental challenges. Key measures will include:

  1. Ensuring that developments make appropriate provision for response and evacuation in the case of an emergency or disaster;
  2. Supporting the retrofitting of existing buildings, infrastructure and places to enhance their resilience;
  3. Locating critical infrastructure and vulnerable uses away from locations at a high risk of acute shocks;
  4. Providing adaptable buildings and places that can easily respond to changing needs and technologies;
  5. Designing out opportunities for crime, anti social behaviour and terrorism;
  6. Designing indoor and outdoor environments to provide a reduction and respite from more extreme temperatures and winds associated with climate change and greater urbanisation;
  7. Increasing the size, spread, quality and interconnectedness of the green infrastructure network, enabling the city region, its citizens and wildlife to adapt to changing conditions;
  8. Taking an integrated catchment-based approach to managing flood risk;
  9. Maintaining a very high level of economic diversity across Greater Manchester;
  10. Delivering at least 50,000 new affordable homes over the period 2018-2037;
  11. Promoting significant enhancements in education, skills and knowledge;
  12. Supporting healthier lifestyles and minimising potential negative impacts on health including air pollution; and
  13. Carefully controlling the location of hazardous installations and new development that could be adversely affected by them.

Do you agree with our proposed policy for Resilience? 

32. Flood risk and the water environment

Large parts of Greater Manchester are at risk of flooding and even more properties could be at risk in the future because of climate change. To combat this we need a coordinated catchment-wise approach using a wide-range of measures to all types of flood risk.

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Policy GM-S 5

An integrated catchment based approach will be taken to protect the quantity and quality of water bodies and managing flood risk, by:

  1. Returning rivers to a more natural state, where practicable, in line with the North West River Basin Management Plan;
  2. Working with natural processes and adopting a natural flood management approach to slow the speed of water drainage and intercept water pollutants;
  3. Locating and designing development so as to minimise the impacts of current and future flood risk, including retrofitting or relocating existing developments, infrastructure and places to increase resilience to flooding;
  4. Expecting developments to manage surface water runoff through sustainable drainage systems and as close to source as possible (unless demonstrably inappropriate) so as to not exceed greenfield run-off rates or alternative rates: specified in district local plans. 
  5. Ensuring that sustainable drainage systems:   
    1. Are designed to provide multifunctional benefits wherever possible, including for water quality, nature conservation and recreation;
    2. Avoid adverse impacts on water quality and any possiblility of discharging hazardous substances to ground;
    3. Are delivered in a holistic and integrated manner, including on larger sites split into different phases; and
    4. Are managed and maintained appropriately to ensure their proper functioning over the lifetime of the development 
  6. Securing the remediation of contaminated land and the careful design of development to minimise the potential for urban diffuse pollution to affect the water environment; and
  7. Securing further investment in wastewater treatment to reduce the frequency of intermittent discharges of storm sewage.

Do you agree with our proposed policy for flood risk and the water environment? 

33. Clean air

Air pollution has been identified as the top environmental risk to human health in the UK and In Greater Manchester a wide range of actions will be required to improve air quality to appropriate levels. 

We all have the right to breathe clean air. Our clean air plan has been put together in recognition that our most polluted roads are causing poor health for too many people in Greater Manchester. Taking action now won’t just make the air cleaner – it will save lives.

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Policy GM-S 6

A comprehensive range of measures will be taken to support improvements in air quality, focusing particularly on locations where people live, where children learn and play, and where air quality targets are not being met, including: 

  1. Locating and designing development, and focusing transport investment, so as to reduce reliance on forms of transport that generate air pollution; 
  2. Determining planning applications in accordance with the most recent development and planning control guidance published jointly by the Institute of Air Quality Management (IAQM) Guidance on the Assessment of Dust from Demolition and Construction, or relevant successor guidance, including the requirement for developers to submit construction management plans as appropriate; 
  3. Requiring applications for developments that could have an adverse impact on air quality to submit relevant air pollution data and, if approved, to make appropriate provision for future monitoring of air pollution; 
  4. Restricting and carefully regulating developments that would generate significant point source pollution such as some types of industrial activity and energy generation; 
  5. Significantly expanding the network of electric vehicle charging points, both for public and private use, including as part of new developments;
  6. Investigating measures to reduce concentrations of NO2 to legal Limit Values in the shortest possible time, including (but not limited to) different types of Clean Air Zone and travel demand measures; 
  7. Facilitating the more sustainable distribution of goods within the urban area, including through accommodating urban consolidation centres and urban distribution centres that use ultra-low-emission vehicles, and local delivery facilities to reduce repeat delivery attempts; 
  8. Designing streets to avoid trapping air pollution at ground level, including through the appropriate location and scale of buildings and trees;
  9. Controlling traffic and parking with and around schools and early years sites; and 
  10. Promoting actions that help remove pollutants from the air, such as enhancing the green infrastructure network and using innovative building materials that capture air pollutants. 

Development should be located and designed to minimise exposure to high levels of air pollution, particularly for vulnerable users. 

Do you agree with our proposed policy for Clean Air?

34. Resource efficiency

As part of our ambition to become one of the leading green city-regions in Europe, Greater Manchester will produce a Resource Strategy. This will look at how we can move towards a circular (where wasted is treated as a resource and is kept in use for as long as possible) and zero-waste economy. This will reduce the amount of waste we produce in Greater Manchester, save resources and reduce our carbon footprint. 

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Policy GM-S 7

The achievement of a circular economy and a zero-waste economy will play a key role in meeting Greater Manchester's ambitions of becoming a leading green city-region by 2038. The following measures will help achieve this: 

  1. Development and implementation of the Resource Strategy for Greater Manchester which promotes overall reduction in the level of waste produced and supports resource efficiency in order to gain the maximum value from the things we produce;
  2. Ensuring the design of all new development incorporates storage space to facilitate efficient recycling and where appropriate, processing of waste on site; and 
  3. Recognition of the role of existing infrastructure in managing the Greater Manchester's waste and protecting such facilities to ensure adequate waste management capacity is maintained.

Do you agree with our proposed policy for Resource Efficiency?

35. Do you have any comments about a sustainable and resilient Greater Manchester?

If you have any supporting information about this topic that is not already discussed elsewhere in this consultation, please upload it here.