Funding boost helps council's plan to decarbonise borough

Numerous projects in the borough to help meet 2038 target can now be brought forward after confirmation of grant applications

Funding boost helps council's plan to decarbonise borough

Stockport Council’s ambitious plans to decarbonise the borough by 2038 were boosted this week by good news around funding for numerous innovative renewable energy projects which are now able to be progressed.

New funding will further boost Stockport town centre’s ambitious redevelopment plans.

The Government has awarded the council a grant of more than £300,000 to help develop a scheme to heat buildings in the town centre and along the A6 corridor via a District Heat Network – powered by forms of renewable energy.

Greenhouse gas emissions generated from heating buildings is one of the largest contributors to Stockport’s carbon footprint.

A shared district heating network powered by renewable energy offers an important solution to tackling issues facing society’s transition to a low carbon future and fulfilling the council’s commitment for the borough to be carbon neutral by 2038.

It potentially enables the council to reduce its own buildings greenhouse gas emissions, but also helps to secure affordable energy provision for the borough for the long term. This potential large scale infrastructure would also bring green jobs and inward investment to the region.

District heat networks are still very rare in the UK – with just 2 per cent of homes served by them - however, the aim is for Stockport to be at the vanguard of this type of heating delivery.

By implementing this network as part of the new neighbourhood, Town Centre West, Stockport are leading the way in creating town centres that ensure a sustainable way of living from the offset.

Bringing this new sustainable network to Stockport has been made possible through the active participation of Stockport Mayoral Development Corporation, Stockport Council and Greater Manchester Combined Authority, which is driving forward transformation across a 130-acre area, known as Town Centre West.

The plans for Town Centre West will see the creation of up to 4,000 new homes, local amenities, major new green spaces, and radical transport improvements, enabling Stockport to become the most sustainable, liveable and well-connected town centre in the Greater Manchester region.

Stockport’s town centre revolution will be further boosted by significant renewable energy schemes coming to fruition this week, involving solar panels on publicly owned buildings in the town centre, including Grand Central leisure centre.

Extra funding of more than £500,000 has also been secured for solar panels on council buildings and schools throughout the district, and there are plans to create the first fully decarbonised school.

Furthermore, a deal has been secured with Be.EV for massively increasing electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the borough.

Cllr Mark Roberts, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, said: “The award of these grants and green inward investment is fantastic news for Stockport as we focus on being carbon neutral by 2038. We are demonstrating clear progress with the new EV charging infrastructure deal bringing in potentially £15M worth of investment to the borough as well as an extra £1,000,000 of funding for schools and council buildings. We’re proud to announce Dial Park will be the first fully decarbonised school in the borough utilising cutting edge technology.

“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. 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.

“Our track record of delivery has been recognised by the awarding of this funding and inward investment, and 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.”

Lord Kerslake, Chairman of Stockport MDC, said: “Stockport MDC are leading a rethink of our urban centres, with an ambitious and sustainable regeneration vision that forms an integral part of a £1bn town centre wide regeneration. 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.”