It's the Big Clean Switch On

Davyhulme WwTW Gas holders

People in Manchester took ‘going green’ literally - after a stunt urging people to switch to renewable energy turned the sky above Trafford a ghostly green.

Water company United Utilities lit-up bright green its two huge iconic gasholders next to the M60 every evening for a week (March 18 to 22) to support the city’s Big Clean Switch campaign.

But the switch-on got residents all aflutter, as low cloud took on a green cast above the massive ball-like structures at Davyhulme Wastewater Treatment Works – giving the area an eerie green glow reminiscent of Hallowe’en.

And several took to Twitter, joking about an ‘alien invasion’.

United Utilities’ Davyhulme gasholders are a major city landmark, sitting right next to the busy motorway near the Trafford Centre, one of the UK’s biggest shopping malls.

They were among the more unusual of several iconic city landmarks taking part in the campaign to get more householders and businesses switched on to buying green gas and electricity.

Manchester Cathedral, Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium and several town halls were also lit-up every night for the week to publicise special deals on gas and electricity prices which have been negotiated exclusively for people in Manchester.

It’s all part of a pioneering partnership between Greater Manchester Combined Authority and green energy experts Big Clean Switch, launched in the run-up to Mayor Andy Burnham’s Green Energy Summit on Monday March 25.

Chris Matthews, who heads up sustainability for United Utilities, said switching to renewable energy was a way everyone could do their bit to reduce carbon emissions and tackle climate change.

“We really believe in this, which is why we wanted to support the Big Green Switch. It looks like these gasholders, sitting right next to the busy M60 motorway near the Trafford Centre, one of the UK’s biggest shopping malls, has really got everyone talking. And that’s great.

“There’s nothing spooky about it. At United Utilities, we not only buy renewable energy – we generate it too. These huge gasholders are where we store biogas after we’ve manufactured it from Manchester’s toilet waste. Once the gas is cleaned up we can either use it ourselves to generate electricity for the treatment works, or inject it back into the gas grid.”

Last year, United Utilities agreed that 90% of its electricity would be from renewable sources. The company also generated 21 % of its own energy from biogas, solar panels, hydro- and wind turbines on water and wastewater sites across the North West.

Current estimates suggest that in 2019, the company will be emitting 68% less carbon from its operations than it did in 2005, when it started keeping detailed records.

 Residents and organisations in Greater Manchester can register their interest for exclusive offers on green energy at