NESC extraordinary meeting ‘set aside’

The plot thickens. At last week’s Neighbourhoods and Environment and Scrutiny Committee (NESC), councillors kicked back against the climate plans before them. After a fraught hour, councillors demanded an extraordinary general meeting with the Executive member for the Environment  Read more here

There matters lay for the day. But when Climate Emergency Manchester contacted officers to find out when the meeting would take place we were told:

“The intention of an ‘emergency meeting’ was set aside after following discussions between the Chair and the City Solicitor’s department. The committee will instead return to the topic again at its next planned meeting on 4th March”.

This raises many questions. We have asked the following, but have yet to receive a reply:

  • Who initiated the discussions between the Chair and the City Solicitor’s department?
  • What was the nature of the discussion – email, phone, text, face to-face?
  • Who were the parties to the discussion?
  • Please provide copies of the emails relating to this matter and a copy of any minutes  / decision note
  • If the minutes / decision note do not clearly state a rationale for overriding the intent of the councillors, then please provide the rationale.
  • What precedent is there for rejecting the request of councillors on a scrutiny committee for an extraordinary general meeting? Has this happened in the past five years? If so, under what circumstances.
  • What is the legal status of the other NESC recommendations – that the council use tonnes consistent; when analysing its carbon reductions and that there are quarterly carbon budget reports?

We will continue to pursue. The climate emergency needs a new way of doing politics… but not this!

 

P.S. A seventh scrutiny committee, devoted to climate and environment policy is (obviously) urgently needed, as is more money for local climate action. Climate Emergency Manchester has launched a petition calling for these. Anyone who lives, works or studies in Manchester City Council’s boundaries can sign online. You first register here, and then sign here.

4 thoughts on “NESC extraordinary meeting ‘set aside’”

  1. I don’t see the point of having another scrutiny committee. Postponing a decision until 4 March makes sense because by then the draft action plan should be finished and the councillors will have had time to read it and make up their minds. The real problem here is that the plan should have been finished before now.

    1. Hi Pete,
      there are two issues, but I think they are related.

      1. The “plan” is massively behind schedule, and of extremely low quality, especially given they have known since November 2018 that they were going to have to produce something.

      2. Long-term, a seventh scrutiny committee simply means
      a) councillors have more time, rather than an hour (tops) for the most important issue facing us.
      b) councillors develop more expertise, and can’t be hoodwinked/bamboozled as easily

      BUT we at CEM certainly do NOT think a seventh scrutiny committee is a magic bullet. It is a non-reformist reform. It will mean MORE work for us and other citizens, but it will also mean that work has more of a chance of gaining traction.

      Buy us all pints and we will explain it more….

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