Greater Manchester is set to receive £7 million in funding to accelerate the region’s net zero ambitions over the next two years.

The funding will build on the already established Local Area Energy Plans, which identify the £12.5 billion of investment in infrastructure required to achieve our carbon-neutral ambitions by 2038.

Across the UK, Local Net Zero Accelerator pilots will help combined authorities like ours deliver green initiatives such as retrofitting homes and installing solar panels.

This new UK-wide £19 million pilot programme will help selected combined authorities unlock private investment, speed up their efforts to tackle climate change and help the UK reach its net zero target.

Two Local Net Zero Accelerator pilots in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the West Midlands Combined Authority will help drive investment in multiple green projects across key sectors such as energy, housing and transport – essential to delivering on the UK’s climate targets.

The combined authorities will decide how to allocate funding, selecting projects that will benefit their communities. These could include housing retrofit and renewable energy and transport projects, such as installing solar panels, battery storage and deploying green buses – all of which could help significantly cut emissions.

Councils have previously faced barriers to attracting private sector investment in smaller net zero programmes and one-off projects. But today’s funding is designed to tackle this so they can secure investment at scale to deliver a range of green initiatives and expand decarbonisation work in the years to come.

By combining multiple green projects across different sectors, rather than requesting funding for one-off, short-term projects, the new Local Net Zero Accelerator Programme will make it easier to secure private investment in a long-term, sustainable way.

The UK is a world leader when it comes to tackling climate change. But the work we do locally is just as important for cutting emissions and delivering net zero.

Green City Lead for Greater Manchester, Councillor Tom Ross, said: “We welcome the £7 million funding to accelerate our net zero ambitions across Greater Manchester over the next 2 years. Greater Manchester has established Local Area Energy Plans which identify the £12.5 billion of investment in infrastructure required, that is substantially under local authorities’ influence, to achieve our carbon neutral ambitions by 2038.

This Accelerator funding from government will be used to design investment models to attract private investment – which is scalable, replicable and which leads to securing investment partners capable of delivering at scale.”

Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, Lord Callanan, said: These pilots will help combined authorities to unlock private sector investment that they can spend on green projects they see fit locally, whether that be retrofitting housing or investing in green public transport networks – all while supporting skilled jobs, building out supply chains and growing our economy.”

Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Gareth Davies, said: “Our £19 million investment is helping local governments explore new ways to fast-track our ambitious net zero objectives. This initiative is pivotal in mobilising the money we need to transition and boosting green jobs and investments across the country.”

The 3 new schemes will be supported by a centralised finance service. Supported by around £3 million, this will give the pilots access to financial and commercial knowledge to attract private investment in the local programmes.

The lessons learnt from these pilots will be used to support other combined authorities across England to deliver on net zero targets.