Connected Places Podcast Episode 29: Manchester’s Road to Recovery and Net Zero with Sir Richard Leese

In this instalment of our City Leader’s dialogues, “The net zero road to COP26 and beyond”, we speak to the Leader of Manchester City Council in the north of England; one of the most important cities in the history of the industrial revolution and the story of modern Britain. For centuries Manchester has been a hive of innovation, and the urban and industrial technology that’s come out of Manchester has had a profound impact not just on the rest of Britain, but on much of the world.

Manchester is the home of the UK’s first canal and its first passenger railway. It’s the birthplace of atomic theory, the programmable computer and the world’s thinnest material, graphene. It’s a city defined not only by science and industry, but huge amounts of creativity and dynamism. So it’s no surprise that going back 150 years the much-loved symbol of Manchester has been the industrious worker bee.

And now, as cities around the world are adapting not just to the fourth industrial revolution but a rapidly changing global climate, Manchester is aiming to be a net-zero carbon city by 2038, 12 years before the rest of the UK. So in this second extended summer episode, we meet the Leader of Manchester City Council, Sir Richard Leese. Greg spoke to Sir Richard as part of the City Leaders dialogues that he’s holding in the run up to the COP 26 Climate Change Summit in Glasgow in November.

How is Manchester positioning itself for the monumental changes ahead; both the challenge of achieving net zero, but also the opportunities that digitisation is bringing to the city? What will a liveable, sustainable and thriving Manchester look like as we begin to recover from a pandemic? And how will the political leadership of this globally connected hive of a city, bring people along on the next phase of Manchester’s journey.

Music on this episode is by Blue Dot Sessions and Phill Ward Music (

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Show notes

To read our CEO’s recent blog on the role that innovation hubs can play in accelerating the UK Government’s ambition to level up the economy, click here.

You can register for the live City Leader Dialogues with the Mayor of Bristol, Mayor Marvin Rees on 7th September.

You can also register for our Innovation Places Summit on 23rd September, as well as our Active Travel Summit on 29th September.

If you’d like to get in touch with your feedback, comments and suggestions on what you’d like to hear more of on Connected Places, please email: We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

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