Publication Local Plan, Chapter 5: Climate change

Creating a fairer Salford by:

  • Reducing the burden that falls on future generations of responding to climate change
  • Tackling the negative impacts of climate change, particularly on human health, which are more likely to be felt by the most vulnerable
  • Supporting the achievement of a carbon neutral Salford by 2038

5.1 Climate change is defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [1] as a change in the state of the climate that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer. There is clear evidence that the global climate is warming and sea levels are rising, with more severe and sustained rainfall events projected in the UK [2].

5.2 Although natural factors influence variations in the climate, human influence on it is clear [3] and it is extremely likely that human activity has been the dominant cause of warming since the mid-20th Century [4] by increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which trap heat there. The greatest contribution to climate change has been from carbon dioxide, the primary source of which is fossil fuel use, though deforestation, land clearance for agriculture and degradation of soils also contribute to its release. Other greenhouse gases include methane (such as from agricultural activities, fossil fuel extraction and the decay of organic waste in landfill sites), nitrous oxides (from agricultural activities, especially nitrogen-fertilised soils and livestock waste, and industrial processes), and hydrofluorocarbons (which are used as refrigerants, aerosol propellants, solvents and fire retardants).

5.3 The Climate Change Act 2008 introduced a legally binding target for the UK to reduce its carbon emissions by at least 80% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. In June 2019, the Prime Minister announced that this will be strengthened to a net zero target for 2050.

5.4 More ambitious and challenging targets have been established at the local level. In July 2019, Salford City Council declared a climate emergency. This included setting a date of 2038 for carbon neutrality in Salford, which matches the target for the whole of the sub-region established in the 5-Year Environment Plan for Greater Manchester [5]. To help achieve carbon neutrality by 2038, a target has been set that all new development should be zero carbon from 2028.

5.5 Salford has seen major progress in recent years, with a 33% reduction in total carbon dioxide emissions over the period 2005-2017, and a 41% reduction in per capita emissions. However, the city has the second highest per capita emissions of the ten Greater Manchester districts, at 5.0 tonnes per annum compared to the sub-regional average of 4.3 tonnes per annum. This is largely due to large contributions from transport, particularly from traffic on the motorways and A roads in the city, which are the highest per capita in Greater Manchester.

5.6 The widespread and potentially devastating impacts of climate change place a responsibility on us all to minimise our carbon emissions, and this must be seen as an essential component of all development. As well as taking actions to reduce emissions, it will also be important to maximise natural processes that can take carbon out of the atmosphere and lock it into features such as peat and trees, known as ‘carbon sequestration’.

5.7 Even with concerted action now, current levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will lead to changes in the climate, such as increased average global temperatures, more extreme weather events and heightened flood risk. It will be vital to the long-term sustainability of Salford, and the health, safety and quality of life of its residents, that the city is designed to adapt to changes in the climate. Green infrastructure will have a major role to play in this, helping to mitigate the impacts of high temperatures, reduce flood risk, and maintain biodiversity.

5.8 Some of the necessary actions for tackling climate change, such as improving energy efficiency and increasing the provision of green infrastructure, could have direct benefits for residents by reducing energy bills and providing a higher quality environment. They may also open up business opportunities that will help Salford to develop a low carbon economy.

5.9 Climate change is a cross cutting theme of the Local Plan, with the majority of chapters contributing to mitigating and adapting to climate change and particularly those on  energy, air quality and pollution and hazards, biodiversity, water, green infrastructure, accessibility, design, efficient and coordinated use of land, economic development and housing.

Policy CC1 - Climate change

Development shall support Salford becoming carbon neutral by 2038, through where relevant: 

  1. Minimising carbon emissions, including by:
    1. Being located so as to minimise the need to travel and maximise the ability to make trips by sustainable modes of transport (in accordance with policies A2 and A3)
    2. Delivering a density of development that makes the most of accessible sites (in accordance with policies EF1 and H3)
    3. Contributing to more walkable and cyclable neighbourhoods that reduce demand for car use (in accordance with policies A2 and A3)
    4. Incorporating electric vehicle charging points (in accordance with policy A10)
    5. Protecting and taking opportunities for the more sustainable movement of freight (in accordance with policies EC2 and A5)
    6. Adopting the principles of the energy hierarchy, with new build residential development exceeding the fabric energy efficiency required under Part L of the Building Regulations 2013 by 19%, and new build non-residential development of 1,000m2 or more achieving at least BREEAM very good or an accepted equivalent, and meet the standard required by any subsequent revision to building regulations, working towards a target that all new development shall be zero net carbon from 2028 (in accordance with policy EG1)
    7. Taking opportunities to incorporate and connect to renewable and low carbon energy infrastructure wherever possible (in accordance with policies EG1 and EG2)
    8. In the case of existing buildings, retrofitting them with measures to reduce energy consumption, in a manner consistent with their heritage interest (in accordance with policies EG1 and HE1)
  2. Maximising carbon storage and sequestration, including by: 
    1. Protecting, and where appropriate supporting the provision or restoration of, habitats that provide a carbon storage function, such as lowland raised bog in Chat Moss (in accordance with policies GI1, GI2 and BG2)
    2. Incorporating green infrastructure, such as trees and woodland, that helps to sequester carbon from the atmosphere (in accordance with policies GI1 and GI6)
    3. Minimising degradation and erosion of soil (in accordance with policy GB2)
  3. Mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change, including by:
    1. Managing flood risk associated with higher peak river flows and more extreme weather events, and relocating vulnerable uses where appropriate (in accordance with policies WA3, WA4 and WA5)
    2. Providing shade and green infrastructure to reduce overheating of urban areas during warmer summers (in accordance with policy GI1)
    3. Creating a place that promotes social interaction, since people who are isolated can be more vulnerable and less able to cope with the impacts of climate change (in accordance with policy D1)
    4. Delivering a net gain in biodiversity value that enables animals and plants to adjust to a changing climate (in accordance with policy BG2)
    5. Incorporating appropriate water efficiency and water recycling measures, to help minimise the potential for drought (in accordance with policy WA2)
    6. Minimising and mitigating air pollution so as to reduce the potential for higher temperatures which in turn leads to poorer air quality (in accordance with policy PH1)
  4. Responding to the economic and policy changes that are likely to accompany climate change, including by:
    1. Reducing the reliance on the private car (in accordance with policies A1 and A2)
    2. Protecting high grade agricultural land (in accordance with policy GB2)


5.10 The main indicators that will be used to monitor this chapter are:

Indicator Baseline position Target
Per capita carbon dioxide emissions 5.0 tonnes CO2 per person [6] Significant reduction, working towards carbon neutrality by 2038 (2019-37)


[1] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2013) Fifth Assessment Report. Climate Change 2013. The Physical Science Basis.

[2] Committee on Climate Change (July 2016) UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2017 – Synthesis report: priorities for the next five years, p.2

[3] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2013) Fifth Assessment Report. Climate Change 2013. The Physical Science Basis.

[4] Committee on Climate Change

[5] Greater Manchester Combined Authority (March 2019) 5-Year Environment Plan for Greater Manchester

[6] Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (June 2019) UK local authority and regional carbon dioxide emissions national statistics.

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