In case you were wondering if Manchester City Council was trying to figure out what the cumulative impact of air pollution on citizens was, you now know. Nor is the Council interested in figuring out which of the new buildings in the city is the greenest, in order to drive up standards. Of course it isn’t
Read the replies to a Freedom of Information Act request below, and weep.
1. In the planning applications submitted to the planning committee, do the developers have to
a) tote up the carbon costs in the construction of the building (cement, for example, is notoriously carbon intensive)
As part of the planning process an Environmental Impact Assessment / Environmental Statement maybe required if the development falls within Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessments) (England and Wales) Regulations 2017. This is a detailed assessment of a project’s likely significant environmental, economic and social effects.
On other applications an Environmental Standards Statement may be required which is outlined within the City Council’s Guide to Development in Manchester SPD/SPG, (chapter 4) and Core Strategy policies EN4 and EN6. An ESS addresses sustainability ratings and the provision of renewable energy within the development (Please refer to Appendix A of the Core Strategy for guidance on preparing this statement).
At this moment we can only enforce existing planning policy through the process. However, we do work with developers to provide as much information as possible about their whole carbon costs.
b) explain how their building will be “zero carbon” in its operations (since the city is going to be zero carbon by 2038, oh yes
2. If there is no such reporting requirement on developers at the moment, is there any intention to HAVE such a reporting mechanism, so elected councillors on the committee can make an informed judgement.
Members of the planning committee are provided with a report which sets out the relevant information in order to come to a decision on a planning application.
The review of the Core Strategy will provide greater clarity on what is required and justify a planning application on zero carbon objectives. The review will be subject to wide ranging consultation.
3. In the eyes of the Council, what is the “greenest” new residential building in the last 5 years. What makes it so green?
The Council does not hold this information in a report.
4. Has the council either commissioned or reviewed any work on the cumulative impact – on air quality, on existing residents health – of all these new buildings, as distinct from a building-by-building assessment, since, you know, synergies, straw’s that break the camel’s back etc etc.
The Council monitors air quality in the city centre. Information and associated reports can be found at www.manchester.gov.uk/info/