New Council, new members, old problems – #Manchester #climate

Tomorrow (Weds 19th May) a new Council is sworn in, following on from the Thursday May 6th local elections.  What does it all mean for climate policy?  Core group member Marc Hudson outlines some basic facts…

The first thing you have to remember is this:  The city has a carbon budget for the rest of the 21st century and it is blowing that budget badly. In the last two years, a quarter of the whole century’s budget has been used up.  And there have been precisely zero emergency meetings about this. This is a Council that was happy to get some free good publicity in November 2018 when it set that budget. This is a Council that was happy to get some more free good publicity in July 2019 when it unanimously voted to declare a climate emergency. This is not a Council that has matched soaring rhetoric with actions that meet the scale of the challenge.  Everything that follows should be seen in that context.

Second up: There is a new Executive Member for the Environment, Transport and Planning. Her name is Tracey Rawlins (Baguely). She has not, to our knowledge, ever sat on Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee (now re-branded as “Environment and Climate Change”).  This means there will be a period where she has to be briefed and become familiar with the debates and policies. Nor did she respond to our tweets or our registered letter about the three simple climate commitments. Hopefully she will now that she is an Executive Member.

Third up: Manchester City Council is awarding a 49k contract for yet more “scoping” work about climate change, and the development of the next “framework” and “implementation plan” is going to be overseen by a recently-retired council officer who was in charge of the last “framework,” which didn’t have the SMART objectives which the Council is now getting a consultant to do.

Finally: The “new” Environment and Climate Change Scrutiny Committee is basically unchanged from the NESC, though with a couple of new faces, and without the Liberal Democrat (Richard Kilpatrick), who was defeated in the local elections. The Green Party councillor, Robert Nunney, is not on the committee, though he asked to be (traditionally first-time councillors get their first pick.  Funny how it hasn’t worked out this time, eh?) Anyway, the all-Labour Party councillors will be having to scrutinise their own party’s record… Did we mention that the city has burnt through a quarter of its carbon budget for the entire 21st century in the last two years and there have been zero emergency meetings about this?

Those councillors are

Paula ApplebyMoston
Shazia ButtCheetham
Abid Latif ChohanLongsight
Linda FoleyDidsbury East
Naeem HassanCheetham
Eve HoltChorlton
John HughesGorton and Abbey Hey
LeeAnn Igbon (Chair)Hulme
William JeavonsDeansgate
Sam LynchNorthenden
Jon-Connor LyonsPiccadilly
Aftab RazaqWhalley Range
Paula SadlerHigher Blackley
Mandie Shilton-GodwinChorlton Park
Annette WrightHulme

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