Yesterday saw the publication of Manchester Climate Change Partnership's 'Net Zero Carbon New Build Policy Document', which sets out proposals that all new buildings in the city centre should be zero carbon from 2023 in order to meet the city's plan to be zero carbon by 2038.

The Partnership intends to work collaboratively with key stakeholders and officers within the Council to promote the Policy Document as the city's new Local Plan is developed and issued for consultation.  

Recommendations within the Policy Document include adoption of an ongoing governance and implementation function in advance of 2023, building evidence base to support the standards being set for new builds and development of a Net Zero Carbon Guide for the city that provides a framework for the sector and acts as a road map for industry to meet new targets.

The Policy Document also mentions consideration of a business case to central government seeking public funding towards Manchester's drive to net zero. The Partnership considers that such additional funding would be applied towards rolling out the 'Manchester Standard' for net zero carbon new buildings more quickly and making an active case study available to other local government entities who wish to play their part in the UK meeting its decarbonisation targets.

Clearly adoption of the Manchester Standard will require buy in from developers and industry and the Policy Document acknowledges this, extending its collaborative approach to all those involved with the built environment and referencing the possibility of financial incentives for those who buy into what it required to meet or exceed future standards associated with becoming net zero. Following up on the focus on high quality design (the 'fast track for beauty') in the Planning White Paper published last summer, the Policy Document certainly chimes with where we appear to be headed in the built environment world and lands hot on the heels of the government's Hydrogen Strategy published last week. If the Partnership can get ahead of the curve on this then the Manchester Standard could very quickly become the mark of excellence for sustainability within the industry.