Manchester City Council

Low Carbon and Future Growth

At a consultation event this morning organised through the Low Carbon Hub looking at the draft of the refreshed Greater Manchester Strategy. The strategy brings together creating the conditions for economic growth and supporting business with the people side of the equation, tackling worklessness, improving skills, and reducing dependency - city deal with whole place community budgets. The draft also strongly references the commitments in the city-region's Climate Change Action Plan, specifically the 48% carbon reduction target by 2020 and the need to act now to adapt to the already inevitable impacts of climate change.

Environmental businesses are growing at around 4% per year, a little more in Greater Manchester so in a flat economy, it is green business that is leading the way. There are those that argue that no growth, a steady state economy, is the only way to tackle climate change but in my view that is almost as daft as climate change denial. Our population is growing, which after decades of decline is not only welcome but essential to maintaining the social infrastructure and amenities of the city. Levels of worklessness are way too high and that means we need more jobs, and jobs that pay a decent wage. Not all economic growth generates lots of jobs, but without growth no jobs are generated. The trick is increase economic output whilst rapidly reducing fossil fuel dependency.

In some cases the route to this is relatively straightforward. Building retrofit has the potential to reduce energy usage, to support thousands of new jobs, and for social benefit in reduced fuel poverty. It won't always be that easy. Tourism is another high generator of jobs but transport, an essential part of tourism, is a big energy user, and in our carbon dominated world, a big emitter of greenhouse gases. The answer is not to curb tourism but to aim for making travel cleaner and more energy efficient but also to look at our energy requirements and emissions in the round as well as sector by sector. Future growth has to be sustainable in every way or there is no future. Equally there is not much of a future without growth.

There are 15 responses to “Low Carbon and Future Growth”

  1. thankfull Says:

    thankfully MCC staff were not as feared forced to do the carbon literacy training. Can we just be left to do our jobs without being patronised and preached to at every turn; thanks

  2. itsabouttime Says:

    Just recently went on the Carbon Literacy Training and actually found it quite usefull.

    What I find appauling is the amount of Taxi journies taken by staff accross the Council, and more importantly how easy it is to book taxi journies. There is a very good transport system in Manchester which gets you from A-B quite effectively and on most occassions a darn site quicker than a Taxi.

    Personally I have not used a taxi in the last 12 months and regularly use the Metro or a bus, saving the council money and giving me a better Carbon footprint. WHY IS THIS NOT THE NORM ?

    My message to the leader is.... Make the booking of Taxi journies harder !!

  3. Tim Says:

    In February 2012 the MEN pronounced that 20mph limits would be coming in across Manchester after getting cross-party council backing. And yet there's still no sign of any change.

    The police are lurking in packs down Oxford Road harassing cyclists who are just trying to avoid going under the buses, but drivers can drive on pavements, park in mandatory cycle lanes with impunity. The police say it's a council issue but the council does nothing.

    Prioritising walking and cycling over driving for shorter journeys has proven benefits - economic, health-related, social, and most relevant to this post, environmental. "the trick is increase economic output whilst rapidly reducing fossil fuel dependency." More safe cycle routes could decrease congestion AND reduce the carbon footprint.

    So why is this taking so long?

  4. Fred Says:

    itsabouttime - what is the point in a council staff member beign sat on a bus for hours on end 'saving money' - it is not saving money if the taxpayer are paying a publuic servent to sit on a bus! Taxi's are quite often the only sensible 'norm' and sometimes also the only save way to travel for lone workers going out into the community at night

  5. D Says:

    What I find completely anti-low-carbon is that in most Council buildings there are no recycling facilities! So paper, cans, glass all go in the general trash.

    For a Council that rigourously encourages the public to recycle I find it laughable that as an organisation we do not practice what we preach!

  6. D is wrong Says:

    D - most MCC buildigs do have recycling, including THX / OFS

  7. D Says:

    I am not wrong. OFS and the Town Hall Complex make up 2 buildings of around 400 operational assets MCC has. Whilst these two sites (and some more larger outfield offices) do indeed have recycling even the Environmental Strategy rep undertaking my carbon literacy training acknowledged that there is no MCC-wide strategy for recycling across the estate, leading to most buildings going without.

  8. DisWrong Says:

    D is wrong

  9. D Says:

    Instead of simply repeating the same thing time & time again, it would make your statement a lot more credible if you actually came up with some background and facts to highlight why I am apparently wrong?

  10. Norwegian Blue Says:

    You've only paid for contradiction

  11. Green Giant Says:

    "D is wrong" is simply recycling!

  12. Tony Says:

    It is perhaps interesting that the comments focus on waste and liquid fuels, I'd suggest because they are handled daily, weekly. Whereas gas and electricity are non-tactile. Yet the science is clear that heat is the biggest polluter currently.

  13. Mark Says:

    " There are those that argue that no growth, a steady state economy, is the only way to tackle climate change but in my view that is almost as daft as climate change denial." Firstly 'no growth' is a simplification of the steady state thesis which sees a role for selective growth - for example in local food production or public transport infrastructure, but is clear that continual aggregate growth cannot be sustained. Secondly, on that latter point, have you found some evidence that you can have your cake and eat it - have aggregate growth and absolute (not relative) reduction in materialt hroughputs and hence emissions? If you have we at Steady State Manchester would love to see it. If you haven't then your assertion is just wishful thinking - except we know that growth doesn't actually deliver either prosperity for all or well-being.

  14. d is wrong Says:

    i double checkedf and D is definitely wrong

  15. Steve Broadhead Says:

    As a subscriber of New Scientist my knowledge of climate change is better than most.

    The mass media and politicians have failed to draw attention to Germany’s abandonment of nuclear power. Germany has so much renewable energy that it can rationally abandon nuclear power. Germany is able to export surplus electricity to France. Jochen Flasbarth is an economist and president of Germany’s Federal Environment Agency. I very highly recommend that everyone read the New Scientist 18th May 2013 – Fission is not the future article. For MCC staff I will send them a copy of the above article.



The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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