Greater Manchester’s Places for Everyone Plan: the Carbon Impact

Please note – we have now (January, 2023) updated the calculations – the new version and an introductory blog post is at this link.


Download the report, latest version (pdf, 0.6 MB)

Download the previous version (pdf, 0.6 MB)

We are pleased to publish this report. It makes a high level estimate of the carbon emissions that would result from implementing Places for Everyone, the strategic spatial plan for Greater Manchester (except Stockport).  A calculation like this should have been made by Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) as part of the Strategic Environmental Assessment for the plan.  So far as we can ascertain, that information is not in the possession of GMCA and this means the plan is flawed.

Given that the plan will generate additional greenhouse gas emissions, it is our contention that the plan should also explain how these will be mitigated, keeping in line with both the GMCA’s 2038, <67 Mtonne carbon budget and the legal requirements in the planning legislation.

The report is inevitably quite technical but we have tried to explain clearly what we did, what assumptions we made and what sources of data we used.  If you don’t understand anything, then do contact us.

Our original calculations were carried out during the consultation period on Places for Everyone.  We have since refined our methodology and carefully checked our calculations: the report linked here is the result.

Our modelling indicates that Places for Everyone would have an estimated total carbon impact of some 16.5 Mtonnes CO2e, or 25 per cent of the Paris-compliant carbon budget for Greater Manchester. If the proposed increase in aviation is included, the figure rises to 37 Mtonnes (55 per cent of the carbon budget). This is in the context of the city region already failing to meet the planned reductions in greenhouse gases that are required to stay within this carbon budget.

Bar chart, Places for Everyone carbon emissions compared to GM carbon budget.

Places for Everyone carbon emissions compared to GM carbon budget.

However, the above figures include sources not included in the GM carbon budget (aviation as noted, embodied emissions and land use emissions).  If we only counted the Places for Everyone emissions projected to arise from the sources included in the GM carbon budget, the total is 5.58 Mtonnes, still approaching 10% of the budget and therefore representing an additional pressure upon it. However, all emissions matter. Firstly, they add to the total global emissions and thereby reduce the world’s available carbon budget, the supposedly safe limit on what can be emitted. If Greater Manchester causes emissions, wherever they are, then inexorably, its available carbon budget will be effectively reduced: the effect, other things being equal, would be that the calculation of the available carbon budget will eventually have to be adjusted down. Secondly, under planning law, authorities (here Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the nine participating councils in Places for Everyone) have to show how their plans contribute to the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions.

Full details can be found in the report.

Steady State Manchester (Mark Burton) led this work in close collaboration with Save Greater Manchester Green Belt.  We are especially grateful to Matthew Broadbent and Marj Powner for their input, and in Matthew’s case, extensive help with the calculations.

Download the report (pdf, 0.6 MB)


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4 Responses to Greater Manchester’s Places for Everyone Plan: the Carbon Impact

  1. Pingback: Save Greater Manchester’s Greenbelt (SGMGB) awarded the Viable Future Mark | Steady State Manchester

  2. Pingback: Places for Everyone goes before the Planning Inspectorate | Steady State Manchester

  3. Pingback: Places for Everyone hearings: the first week | Steady State Manchester

  4. Pingback: Places for Everyone, week 3 – Carbon emissions | Steady State Manchester

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