Manchester City Council

Greens and Gangs

The heading today is an appalling example of that desperate need to alliterate but probably an improvement on my alternative for today, Danish Invasion 2.

Going back to yesterday, particularly as today is slightly less interesting, the Town Hall is full of people from a whole range of different backgrounds but with one purpose, to discuss Manchester ( the City not the Council )'s draft Climate Change Action Plan. After short introductory speeches from the three Richards ( Cowell, Executive Member for the Environment, Leese, that's me, and Sharland, head of Environmental Strategy ) most of the day is spent in very lively and enthusiastic workshops. The target for CO2 savings by 2020 has been revised upwards to 41% of the 2005 figure, amounting to around 1.25million tonnes per annum. Don't know how we're going to do it yet but tackling climate change is not an optional extra. At lunchtime I host the all-party Danish Parliament's Social Affairs Committee who are here for a couple of days to look at the successful work that has been done in Manchester by local communities working with the police and the council to tackle issues of young people, guns and gangs. Amazing that Danish parliamentarians know about and recognise what UK parliamentarian Chris Grayling doesn't. Later it's back to transport, talking to a student doing a dissertation on TIF, and that theme continues into this morning as I do a catch-up on the High-Speed Rail campaign which has been active at all the party conferences. Later there are meetings about Manchester:Knowledge Capital and innovation, and the recruitment of a new Chief Exec for CityCo, and hopefully in between a chance to do some very overdue replies to some correspondence.

There are 21 responses to “Greens and Gangs”

  1. ABU Says:

    Has Manchester signed up for 2010 whereby businesses/organisations commit to reducing its carbon emissions by 10% by 2010. I have a feeling we have. Whats plans are there in place to achieve this ?

    It seems to me the council owns/rents so many properties across the City that it could make a real impact if it decided to be a bit more daring (without being radical).
    I see no reason why solar panels cannot be fitted to the Town Hall roof, especially as there is a re-furb happening? Why can't other big council properties such as Heron House/Overseas House with large roof spaces also have solar panels and/or rain collectors water? These would all have an initial outlay but surely over the course of a decade these would have paid for themselves.
    This could be your real legacy

  2. dave Says:

    Hi ABU

    Its nice to know that you accept that there will be an initial outlay for these good ides and who pray tell is going to pay for this central government I fear not when the likely government from next year has put it on the record that they are going to cut funding to local councils by 10% across thwe board.

    These ideas have to be paid for by raising the captail from the local people of Manchester. Lets be radical place on every council tax payer a green tax of say £50 a year to pay for all these great ideas. That way everyone is doing something to save manchester.

    Lets here it for more Tax's in the midst of the biggest recession this country has ever faced.

  3. Dave Says:

    Thanks for your positive response Dave. If the sun burned as brghtly as your optimism then the solar panel would be definitly be worth the outlay!

    Unfortunatly the only way to get out of the climate mess we are in is to change our lives radically. We simply cannot go on hoping that the little things will work- its late for that. Whilst my points are simply ideas/suggesstions and not demands something on a similar scale needs to be done not just across Manchester or the UK but the world. Sir Richard continues to refer to Manchester as a World class City. I can't think of anything more World class than having an eco-policy that puts the planet to shame.

    Of course it will cost money. But if we (I don't mean individuals here necessarily) don't make that small outlay at some point then we will be worse off still in the near future.

    My personal view is that Government should legislate and enforce certain green measures- and i'm not just talking about better insulation.

    I would never expect Manchester residents to pay for all of my suggestions but along with Government legislation could come funding such as that available with the TiF propsals?

    I don't have the answers- but where there is a will there is a way.

  4. ABU Says:

    This third (above)post is mine not Daves!!!

  5. Richard Sharland - Head of Environmental Strategy Says:

    In response to ABU I can confirm that the Council has joined the 10% by 2010 campaign and this shows that the Council recognises we have to get on and take action ourselves. It also gives us some momentum to make a start on the much bigger target for 2020. Most of the measures required for the Council's 10% by 2010 target do relate to our buildings and we are looking at a range of measures to improve energy efficiency in our estate. In some cases, this may include solar panels, though these are likely to feature more in a longer term strategy in future years. The Town Hall refurb becomes operational next year and we are looking at a range of options to improve its environmental performance: the solution will probably include a number of technologies and we don't yet know whether solar panels will be one of them. Transforming the performance of a landmark Grade 1 listed building like the Town Hall will be a challenge, but we are determined to get the best result we can.

  6. Jim Mogg Says:

    Have the Danish contingent also been taken the less successful community projects - obviously in the spirit of balance. Or is Manchester so wonderful that everything is perfect?

  7. dave Says:

    Just a thought the recent research says the captail outlay of a standard house getting solar pannels would take between 10 to 15 years to repay tha captail outlay, ask the Co-op who did it to their building.

  8. Marc Hudson Says:

    Thanks to the two Richards for their comments. My questionis for Dave. Do you a) think that Climate Change is happening. If you don't then that's fine, you've got no problem. But if b) you DO think it is happening, then it becomes a question of do you want to do nothing and then suffer huge damage (and wreck the future for our children and their children) or do you want to start spending some money (and solar panels may or may not be the answer here in Manchester- I don't know) to deal with it. There are no free options here, unless Climate Change isn't happening. I wish it weren't. I wish I could convince myself it wasn't. PS I blogged the meeting that Richard Leese talked about- you can read it here-

  9. George Michael Bluth Says:

    Just out of interest, where is all of this money coming from? Is it coming from central government who are actually selling off assets and reducing funding to local government? Is it going to come from tax payers who are struglling with the recsssion, struggling with huge unemployment figures? It is easy enough to say that we need to spend but I honestly cannot see where the funding is coming from. This country is on its knees and any funding (a la TIF) comes in the form of a thinly veiled bribe. Yes, I want a cleaner future for my children but I don;t want their children to still be paying for it. A change in attitudes is required first and foremost (bulbs, heating, locally produced food, less flying, lights off, 30% wash etc etc).

  10. manchester man Says:

    That’s very noble of you, not wanting the future generation to have to pay for tacking climate change but I’m sure they would feel quite differently if we do nothing and let the climate change destroy the planet.

    Let’s not get hysterical – this country is not ‘on its knees’; countries like Zimbabwe, parts of the Sudan, Somalia and Mozambique could claim to be on their knees - the UK, like the rest of the developed world, is undergoing an economic downturn and while we certainly need to tighten our belts as a nation, we still remain one of the world’s leading economies.

    This and the next generation of people on the planet (you, me, our children and grandchildren) hold the key to stemming the tide of climate change – if we don’t make the right choices now with regards to reducing or carbon emissions, there’s a very real danger that in a couple of hundred years time the damage will be so bad that it will start to seriously affect the planet’s ability to sustain life.

    Yes – tackling climate change will cost money (quite a lot of money) but of all the things that government spends money on, I honestly think that saving the planet is one that should cause the least controversy.

  11. dave Says:

    Right then Marc lets campaign for a £50 a year green tax to be added to Manchester Council Tax payers thats you and me if you life in Manchester. Your one of these people who shout spend the money without actually asking where that money is coming from. So maybe I have a problum its that I think things through without just saying spend the money.

  12. dave Says:

    Manchester man
    As you've said its a global problum right I'll switch my light out not drive so much not fly and all this is going to be wiped out by the growth in Chinas and Indias Coal powered power stations. These two Governments have allredy said they are not willing to do anything that will effect their economy. How are you going to sort it out then.

  13. dave Says:

    Just realised that all your arguements about the danger to the economy you want central government to spend the money. I want each person in Manchester to pay for it lets campaign for a green tax to be added to the conuncil tax, I'm up for that are you.

  14. ABU Says:

    ''These two Governments have alredy said they are not willing to do anything that will effect their economy.''

    This is the main issue with climate change debate. The ‘i'm not going to do anything because they’re not' attitude. That’s why I believe that legislation is the only way to solve it.
    There will continue to be little action in the UK and Europe until some catastrophic event occurs and makes everyone wake-up. There needs to be a complete culture change and unfortunately human nature is not to change unless it has too. The ethos in our society is economy first- environment second. A good example of this is in Manchester by the City Councils desire for an additional runway, arguing Manchester will lose money to other Cities if we don’t build it. There is a perverse logic to that don’t you think?
    -We’ll build a runway even though we know we shouldn’t otherwise someone else will just build one

    I’m not suggesting that the residents of Manchester should have to pay a green tax as you seem to think Dave. What I’m suggesting is that Manchester takes a big step forward and says Climate first.
    Manchester was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution which produced untold wealth for the City and created this problem. Why can’t we be at the forefront of the solution? And likewise, reap the benefits in decades to come?

  15. Richard Leese Says:

    Don't want the facts to get in the way ABU but Manchester isn't proposing an additional runway. That's London Heathrow.

  16. Marc Hudson Says:

    Hi Dave
    Right then Marc lets campaign for a £50 a year green tax to be added to Manchester Council

    I think there will be costs, and I think EVERYONE will have to bear some costs, yes, even the poor. Personally, I am in favour of "contraction and convergence".
    Tax payers thats you and me if you life in Manchester.

    I do. Interesting that you like to imply that I might not.
    Your one of these people who shout spend the money without actually asking where that money is coming from.

    Did I abuse you? Did I assume anything about you? No. I asked you a couple of questions a) and b). Which you've interestingly not felt the need to answer.
    So maybe I have a problum its that I think things through without just saying spend the money.

    Glad that you think you've thought things through. I would like to see you express your thoughts on this question- is Climate Change happening? If not, fine. If it is, who should pay? The Chinese? The rich only? the poor only? Who should pay? It's a good question.

  17. George Michael Bluth Says:

    Re Post 10.
    Let's not get hysterical? How about let's not get patronising. You can always find a situation that is worse than the one that you are in. Compared to even 15 years ago this country is on its knees. We have record debts, huge unemployment, a lack of social cohesion, morally bankrupt politicians etc etc etc. As you rightly say though things are worse in Darfur and many other places. Why don't you go to Darfur and ask them whether they care about climate change. Everybody focuses on their own agenda first, it is human nature. If you are geuinely able to encounter each and every setback and situation in your life with a smile and thanks that you could be far worse off, then you are a bigger man than I (Siddartha?).

  18. Dave Says:

    Okey then I go along with you the climite is changing its happening and I want every council tax payer to have a new green tax placed on the council tax £50 a month should do or just deducted from their wages. Take £5 a week of those people on benifitts to make them think about this as well.
    Of course we would have to ask all other countries to do this as you so rightly say its a world thing.

  19. Ian Says:

    Are you stupid Dave pay £50 on top of my Council Tax you must be one of these greenies who arn't in the real world

  20. ABU Says:

    Sir Richard I am not saying that an additional runway has been proposed but it is certainly desired (which is the word I used) by MCC is it not? I know airport expansion is something which you have discussed, even on this blog. It also appeared in the recent economic review.
    Even if we use the example of Heathrow as you suggest it still proves my point that the economy always comes first even if it means further environmental setbacks.

    At post 17 (George)- Worse now than 15 years ago? You think? In 1994 we had just managed to pull ourselves out of recession, with interest rates in double figures and unemployment only 2 years before that at 3 million (higher than now). We also had Black Monday (Or was it Wednesday?!) where we had to pull out of the Exchange Rate Mechanism (A European currency mechanism) because sterling had collapsed..

    Economically we are in a difficult period but it should never be used as an excuse for inaction.

  21. George Michael Bluth Says:

    17 years ago Bank Of England base rates were double figures, the UK pulled out of the exchange rate mechanism. Very true. That's not 15 years ago though when base rates were at around 5-6% and as you said yourself, the UK was emerging from a recession rather than deep inside one so I hope you'll excuse me for sticking to my guns. I don't believe that I have, at any point I have promoted inaction. In fact, in point 9, I clearly stated that I believe that action needs to be taken by individuals in achieveable forms. There are still too many people ranting about climate change who drive everywhere and fly regularly.



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