Now that Manchester has an Environment and Climate Change Scrutiny Committee, what questions do Councillors need to ask? How can we minimise the number of comments delivered as one-off speeches or noble last stands when items relating to the climate emergency must come back, month after month?
CEM and supporters have pulled together short briefing notes relating to two papers on November’s ECC agenda:
- The role of neighbourhood teams in delivering local climate change activity and partnership working
- Council estates decarbonisation
These items are positive developments, but their presence on the agenda alone is not sufficient. Together the briefing notes demonstrate the need for the Council to accelerate, not sit back and congratulate. The item on the role of local climate action is symptomatic of an emerging trend in the time of COP. It presents a confetti cannon of colourful activity that lifts the spirits but makes it difficult to track in systematic fashion what has been done where and, crucially, where the gaps and barriers persist. The showcase format is bewildering, and places little emphasis on evaluation.
These briefing notes are intended to help elected members who sit on the committee, and guide the crowds of citizens watching along. November’s ECC reports are welcome. But what happens to them next depends on the quality of the questions asked.