The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has completed the first stage of its plan, announced in March, to significantly boost its presence in the Greater Manchester region. The establishment of the UKGBC Local Network in Manchester comes hot on the heels of Metro Mayor Andy Burnham’s commitment to make Manchester one of the leading green cities in Europe.

Earlier this year, UKGBC acted as the buildings lead for the Greater Manchester Green Summit, providing insight on the unique challenges and opportunities for green buildings in the region. The UKGBC team is now assisting in the development of the Combined Authority’s 5 Year Environment Strategy and Spatial Planning Framework.

The growth of UKGBC’s presence in the region has been made possible thanks to the generous support of the charity’s members. Multi-disciplinary engineering and sustainability consultancy, Hilson Moran, has seconded Principal Sustainability Consultant, Joanne Thetford, to act as UKGBC’s part-time Local Network Co-ordinator. In addition, UKGBC’s local policy capacity is boosted by the part-time secondment of WSP Technical Director Simon Clouston.

As part of this expansion, UKGBC’s Director of Policy and Places, John Alker, has relocated from London to Manchester to spearhead the organisation’s activities in the region, working from UKGBC’s new Manchester office, kindly hosted by engineering consultancy BuroHappold at Eastgate, a Castlefield Estates property.

John Alker, Director of Policy and Places at UKGBC said:

“Sir Robert Peel famously said: “What Manchester thinks today, the world does tomorrow”. It’s a well-worn quote, but can still provide inspiration as the city-region grapples with various environmental and socio-economic challenges and responds to the ambitions set out by political leaders. Sustainable buildings and infrastructure are key to success, providing places to live and work that are fit for the future.

I’m looking forward to what UKGBC can achieve in Greater Manchester, helping to forge a shared vision between progressive construction and property companies, policy makers and other partners locally. The GM Spatial Framework is the immediate opportunity, which needs to set new development on a course to ‘net zero carbon’ by 2030 at the latest.

This is also an exciting new chapter for me personally, and demonstrates how serious UKGBC is about creating a genuinely nationwide movement beyond just London and the South East.”

During World Green Building Week (24-30 Sept) UKGBC will be holding an event in Manchester hosted by architecture and engineering practice BDP. The event, Green Homes: from policy to practice, will provide an opportunity for the city’s construction and property industry to come together to discuss best practice and how we achieve a step change in the sustainability of UK housing.

Joanne Thetford, UKGBC Local Network Coordinator for Greater Manchester said:

“The UKGBC has a strong reputation in the market for their work on improving sustainability in the built environment and I am thrilled to join their team this year with a focus on driving the local network here in Manchester – at a time when there is so much focus on the city and North West region.

With my role at Hilson Moran I have a holistic view of the market and how clients are adopting sustainability initiatives. I’m looking forward to using my experience and knowledge in order to help push local targets and build on UKGBC’s national agenda.”

Mei Ren, Director, BuroHappold Engineering said:

“BuroHappold has a long standing relationship with UKGBC, having contributed to a number of initiatives held in London and the South East. As such, we are delighted to host John Alker in BuroHappold’s Manchester office and we look forward to supporting UKGBC as they bring their expertise and experience in sustainability in the built environment to Manchester.”

For more information on our Local Networks, please see here.