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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Nick Statham

Boost for Stockport’s carbon-neutral mission as £1m funding secured for renewable energy schemes

Ambitious plans to make Stockport ‘carbon neutral’ by 2038 have been handed a £1m boost after funding was secured for a number of renewable energy projects. The government has awarded the council more than £300,000 to develop a District Heat Network, which will use renewable energy to heat buildings in the town centre and along the A6 corridor.

Extra funding of more than £500,000 has also been landed to fit solar panels on council buildings - including Grand Central - and schools throughout the district. And there are further plans for Dial Park to become the first fully decarbonised school in the borough, by utilising ‘cutting edge technology’.

Coun Mark Roberts, cabinet member for climate change and environment, said the grants were ‘fantastic news for Stockport’ as it focuses on becoming carbon neutral by 2038. “District Heating Networks are just the kind of forward, future thinking that is needed for a cleaner, greener future if we stand any chance of averting adverse climate change," he said.

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"Innovative, future proofed concepts for tackling climate change must be designed and baked in from the outset. Decarbonisation at scale such as schemes like this, tackle one of the hardest to decarbonise sectors, in heat, and will deliver direct benefits for residents for generations to come. Locally produced power helps energy security too.”

The council has also struck a deal with Be.EV to ‘massively increase’ electric vehicle charging infrastructure, which could potentially bring £15m worth of investment into the borough.

Coun Roberts said the council was ‘demonstrating clear progress’ towards its climate change goals.

Coun Mark Roberts, Stockport council cabinet member for climate change and environment, Coun Mark Hunter, leader of Stockport council and Mark Glynn, director of place management. (Stockport council.)

“Our track record of delivery has been recognised by the awarding of this funding and inward investment,” he said. “It is a massive vote of confidence from the government and private partners that they believe we can deliver and act as a leader for other local authorities around the country.”

Greenhouse gas emissions generated from heating buildings is one of the largest contributors to Stockport’s carbon footprint. And bosses say the district heating network is an important step towards the council meeting its commitment to create a carbon neutral borough by 2038.

Although still very rare in the UK – with just 2 per cent of homes being served by them - the aim is for Stockport to be at the vanguard of this type of heating technology.

It potentially enables the authority to reduce its own buildings' greenhouse gas emissions, as well as helping to secure affordable energy provision for Stockport in the long term. This proposed large-scale infrastructure would also bring green jobs and inward investment to the region.

Council bosses say the new funding will also further boost Stockport town centre’s ambitious redevelopment plans.

Stockport Town Hall. (Copyright Unknown)

Plans for ‘Town Centre West’ - often hailed as the ‘newest, coolest, greenest’ urban village in Greater Manchester - will see the creation of up to 4,000 new homes, local amenities, major new green spaces, and radical transport improvements.

And by implementing the heat network as part of this ew neighbourhood, Stockport believes it is ‘leading the way in creating town centres that ensure a sustainable way of living from the offset’.

The regeneration of Town Centre West is being driving by the Stockport Mayoral Development Corporation (MDC0.

Lord Kerslake, chairman of the MDC, said: “Our aim for the development of Town Centre West is to create long-term sustainable living, ensuring the right housing provisions are in place as well as creating new green spaces and transformational transport infrastructure with a focus on greener travel.

“This funding for a new heating network, will help to power new homes within Town Centre West, and is a vital step forward for the MDC and our partners towards creating an environmentally friendly town centre for future generations.”


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