Manchester City Council

How Green is My City

14th October 2019

A couple of weeks ago I posted on Twitter about the greenhouse gas reduction target for the city set in 2009 to be achieved by 2020, 41%, and that the City Council, with a 2.1% share of the city’s emissions, had far exceeded that target by the end of 2018/9. Just to be clear, I was not denying the Council’s role in providing broader leadership on climate change, but was making an obvious point to all those who point the finger at the Council, and at the same time throwing out a challenge, that if the rest of the City was doing as well as we are we would be in a lot better place.

It’s worth looking again how that target was set and what has been done since to achieve it. Like now, in 2008 lots of individuals and organisations were berating the Council for alleged inaction. Our response was to invite all our critics in and to work with us to write and deliver our climate change strategy and action plan. Most accepted the invitation and the result was the ground-breaking Manchester : A Certain Future and later the establishment of the Manchester Climate Change Agency, the Partnership organisation tasked with delivery. Some chose to remain carping from the sidelines and some of those are still carping from the sidelines adding nothing but venomous hot air to the task ahead.

For its part the Council is taking the climate emergency extremely seriously but also knows that all though we are on a very steep slope there are no overnight solutions. Our zero carbon city still needs more homes and more jobs and the most sustainable way of providing for those is through dense development on brownfield sites close to public transport nodes. The alternative is concreting over greenfield sites for what would be very car dependant development. 

As our outline city centre transport strategy sets out we are aiming to reduce the number of car journeys into the city, but at the same time we recognise many people will remain dependent on the car for a large number of reasons. So we need those cars to be cleaner, ideally electric, but they will still need somewhere to park. Parked cars are zero emissions, they’re only a problem when they move.

Finally, what we are interested in is practical, deliverable solutions that have support across all our communities to tackle a fundamental issue. We are open to working with anybody who wants to join us in that task.

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

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