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GMFRS response to climate emergency

The Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service Sustainability Strategy (2014-2020) outlines an overall target of being carbon positive by 2050 and essentially moving beyond net zero.

The Sustainability Strategy also has an interim target of achieving a 50 per cent carbon reduction by 2020 (from the 2008/09) baseline.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service flag

As well as carbon targets, the strategy also outlines our ambition to become a zero waste organisation, causing zero pollution, creating zero wasted water, as well as being local leaders on sustainability.

By April 2019, we had achieved a 45 per cent reduction in carbon emissions from a baseline set in 2008/09.

Electric vehicles outside Leigh Community Fire Station

Net positive carbon footprint

To move towards becoming a net positive organisation, we have:

  • invested over £1 million in energy efficiency measures including LED lighting, voltage optimisation, dehumidifiers within drying rooms, insulation and heating controls
  • 22 fire stations have solar PV systems, generating enough electricity to power 13 fire stations for a full year
  • rebuilt four sites with high standards of energy efficiency
  • introduced 11 electric vehicles, which reduce carbon emissions by 75 per cent when compared to combustion fuel equivalents
  • our fire engines have 100 per cent recyclable polymer bodies making them 75 per cent lighter and enables annual fuel savings of 3 per cent
  • commenced research into diesel consumption from fire appliances at incidents
  • helped avoid around 80,000 tonnes of carbon from fires entering the atmosphere (since 2008) through our prevention work.

Zero waste

By 2050, we aim to be a zero waste organisation, which will require a move towards more closed-loop procurement systems. Our activities include: 

  • technical equipment such as hoses, fire engines and PPE donated through an ethical organisation to countries in need
  • obsolete smoke detectors previously installed by Greater Manchester FRS are collected and returned to the supplier for repurposing to avoid unnecessary disposal
  • firefighting PPE is composed of panels meaning that fabric panels can be replaced individually rather than the whole uniform
  • our waste collection arrangements ensure that recyclable waste and general waste are collected separately leading to improved recycling rates.