Manchester City Council

Clean and Green

Although this is being written on Wednesday it won't be posted until Thursday so all references to today will actually be about yesterday.

A high-speed diversion before I warm to my main theme. There were lots of reports on today's Council Executive agenda dealing directly or indirectly with trains; plans for the Mayfield station site, the proposed HS2 station site, proposed station enlargements at Oxford Road and Piccadilly as part of the Northern Hub work, proposals for northern local authorities to manage the two northern rail franchises, and all of these reports are as always available elsewhere on the Council website. One report not on today's agenda but published today was one from KPMG looking at the economic benefits of HS2. Just three tit bits from it. Yes London will benefit from HS2 but the rest of the country will benefit more. Win-win and rebalancing. The increased GDP will generate enough tax revenue to easily pay for the line even at a £50b cost, and HS2 will not be at the expense of other investment. If the government continues to support capital investment at its current rate, between now and 2032, once the cost of HS2 has been deducted, there will be £1.2trillion to spend on other things.  

Something that was reported on today's agenda was the windfall dividend the Council has received from Manchester Airport Group as a consequence of the purchase by MAG of Stansted Airport . £14.5million. A lot of money. However set it against the £250m p.a. of cuts the Council has already had to make and the £65/70m we expect to have to make in 2015/6 as a result of another round of government cuts, cuts that once again switch money from poorer to wealthier areas, then £14.5m doesn't look quite so big. It's a one-off so we can't use it to reverse cuts already made or to set against the next round of cuts. What we can do is seek to spend it on things that people across the city have raised increasing concerns about and in a way that is sustainable when the money runs out.

There has been a growing clamour around rubbish, litter, fly-tipping - things that reduce pride in the city and have an enormous impact on quality of life not to mention economic competitiveness. The City Council wants to respond to these well-founded concerns and so has decided to invest the extra Airport dividend in things that will have a long-term impact on keeping the city cleaner and greener. This will undoubtedly include some physical improvements but the big prize is changing behaviour, after all its not the City Council that makes the mess in the first place, it is (some) Manchester citizens. Obviously we want to incentivise good behaviour, encouraging citizens to look after their neighbourhoods, but we also aim to take very robust enforcement action against those people who cause the problems in the first place.


There are 9 responses to “Clean and Green”

  1. franky Says:

    My worry about HS2 is that it will be all 1st class, just as the fast line in Kent. Not only that, what happens to the west coast trains?
    HS2 should be run by a non-profit company which includes the public.

  2. Simon Walsh Says:

    Manchester is definitely cleaner than Salford but Bury beats them all.
    Verges on pavements and weeds in gutters....the all of Trinity Way and Mancunian Way needs a real blitz by both Councils.
    Reports are not as promptly actioned as they should be....a white bag of rubbish is on Castlefield Bridge- I reported it 6 weeks ago.
    Cigarette ends accumulate.
    This and many other gateways into Manchester are very poor adverts for the area.
    Spend the £14m wisely and we will all benefit though ultimately it is people and not Councils that create rubbish!

  3. Amal Basu Says:

    Our veteran councilor Pat Karney asking from its readers any suggestion as to how to spend the windfall of £15m that the Council had received from its investment in Manchester Airport, in his effort “to make Manchester the UK’s cleanest, greenest city of UK”.
    The idea of replacing the city centre bins with the ‘hi-tech smart bins’, like the so called ‘Smart’ phones, may be very attractive and youth-speak but is this the cure for the malaise that has in the Mancunians’ psyche by long ignoring needs of the locals who have given up any hope of improvements? Has it occurred to the Council that some bright coloured street bins and flower baskets are not deep enough to cure this malaise? Manchester, especially north and east fringe of the city centre where the Centre is planned to expand, is gradually looking like high-rise slums. People who live in these areas would need more than a few colourful bins and mangy flower baskets to have green consciousness. They need to live in a green environment to have respect for these superficial gestures. These two areas where there are still some open spaces could be converted to neighbourhood leafy squares and assigned to the local communities who would be thrilled to maintain it and bear the ‘green’ credentials for Manchester. Some of these open spaces (in Ancoats where there are no household gardens) are in danger of being sold off to build more buildings of dubious characters. Imagine bringing up children in such a concrete jungle. If the Councillor wants to make Manchester ‘Green’, halt this madness and bring the local communities to the mission of greening Manchester. If Manchester wants to compete with London, be like Kensington and Chelsea which is strewn with little neighbourhood squares, only then Manchester could shed its grimy Northern reputation. London is known as the City of Parks, let Manchester be the City of Greens.

  4. Hailifax Says:

    Sir Richard I fail to understand why you support the white elephant that HS2 will become.

    There is little public support for it, it will destroys thousands of acres of productive land and the economics of it are very questionable

    In 2012, the numbers coming from the government appeared to be close to nonsense, and the Institute of Economic Affairs had noted that the analysis done up until then on the finances of the project looked to be “pushed to the limit of what is academically rigorous.”
    Furthermore the majority of big government projects overrun their cost estimates by very large amounts and destroy more value than they create. 90% of big infrastructure projects have cost overruns, and in the case of rail, that overrun is around 45% of the original budget.
    The numbers in 2012 suggested that if HS2 overran by the same amount, it would “generate a loss of 79p for every £1 spent on it.” It turns out that this is now a best case scenario.
    In 2012, the total cost estimates came in at around £33bn. By early this year, they were up to £34.5bn. In June, the official estimate was at £42.6bn (in 2011 prices). Now according to the FT, the internal Treasury opinion is that the final cost will be more like £73bn , while IEA put it at £80bn. Even if you take the lower figure (and adjust it back for inflation), we are already into a 100%-ish cost overrun from 2012.

  5. Ian Says:

    The rush by the ruling elite for HS2 brings to mind the congestion charge they triend to bring in. The world will end if we don't have this line.
    As halifax states all big government projects overun by large amounts. These projects are a laugh with regard to the budget you set a small figure half way through you double or triple it thats fine the tax payer is going to pay. If this was such a good deal were are the private investers, they'll not touch this with a barge pole.
    Its not a good idea but they will push it through cause it looks good for them they will not be around with the cost comes in.

  6. John Says:

    Remember the KPMG report was paid for by the company that was going to get the contract so fully trustworthy then lol.

  7. noodles Says:

    Check Private Eye for the full story on costings. Depressing reading.

  8. claire Says:

    destroying acres of land at a time when global food shortages are a real issue and more and more land is used to grow not for human consumption but fuel and cattle feed should be what we are addressing not the speed that we can get to london.

  9. Robert Nunney Says:

    I live in Baguley and litter is a real problem in my area. I would like to take direct action by vounteering to pick litter in my neighbourhood. Can the council help me do this by providing equipment or putting me in touch with a local group?



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

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