Manchester Biodiversity Action Plan 2012-16 Gets Green Light

The Manchester Biodiversity Action Plan 2012-16 [1] was passed by the Communities and Neighbourhoods Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 10th January 2012 and agreed by the Executive on the 18th (minutes pending).

Who was there?
Committee: about 18 (including the chair and minutes taker).
Panel: Nigel Murphy (Executive Member for Environment, Manchester City Council, Hulme / Labour) [2], Dave Barlow (Biodiversity Expert / Wildabout Manchester)[3], Richard Sharland (Head of Environmental Strategy at Manchester City Council) [4] and A. N. Other (sorry, didn’t catch his name).

Public: 1.

First to speak was Cllr Nigel Murphy: very brief overview of the plan; singled out the Wildabout Manchester case study of schoolgirl Sophie making a bird house [1, p42].

Then Richard Sharland talked about the general framework of the plan, including: a major achievement for a city with predominantly residential habitat; educational benefits; conservation elements; community involvement (~20,000 attended biodiversity events in 2011).

Then Dave Barlow picked out a few bits from the 2005-2010 plan: Manchester Peregrine project; the local record centre (database of 20,000 records now); the increase in Local Nature Reserves [6] (mentioning Wythenshawe, and more in the pipeline); and the tallest tree in Greater Manchester – recently identified in Harpurhey (tbc).

Questions / comments:
Q1: Cllr Peel [I think] suggested more green roofs.
A: Richard Sharland said that would we included as part of Green Infrastructure Plan.

Q2: another committee member asked how to engage with the tens of thousands of school kids
A: Richard Sharland said they were doing so with 80% of schools already .

Dave Barlow mentioned the down-loadable education packs for schools [4].

Q3: another asked if current weed-killers were safe to use in the long-term? [Norman Lewis, I think]
A: Dave Barlow: Should be, all tried and tested as far as they know.

Q4: Possibility of bio-control for Japanese Knotweed?
A: Didn’t catch the full answer, something about Japanese Knotweed needing a 3 year program to fully eradicate.

Then some general chit-chat about the impact of the Metrolink plans across Chorlton Meadows from Liberal Democrat side. Response from labour: Metro / trainlines are fantastic wildlife corridors. Nothing added from panel, I don’t think.

Anyway, some mutterings at the end about the plan being approved, some shuffling of papers, and the four chaps walked away smiling. On the way out, walking down the Town Hall corridors, I asked Dave Barlow if all had gone to plan, he said yes, and Richard Sharland agreed.


Further reading/info: minutes as of 27th Jan)

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Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
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3 Responses to Manchester Biodiversity Action Plan 2012-16 Gets Green Light

  1. More council ‘Greenwash’.

    • I assume, Patrick, that you are referring to the Biodivesity Action Plan, not to the MCFly article.

      In which case, I’ve a few questions.
      How much of this plan have you read, to reach that judgement?
      What changes would you make to the document if you were in charge?

      Or do you think the document is fine but it’s the implementation that will fall down?
      In which case, what are you personally going to do to keep the Council honest, and what do you suggest other people do?

      These are not idle questions, by the way. And, alongside your critique of the Waste Disposal Authority, I look forward to your “call to real action” style alternative Biodiversity Action Plan strategy.

      To be clear. I *absolutely* sympathise with anyone who is suspicious of Manchester City Council and the potenital/real gap between its high-faluting rhetoric and the far grubbier reality.

      But then, surely, as citizens with freedom of speech and freedom of assembly and access to information (OK, these are not absolute, but you and I are in paradise compared to people in Nigeria, or Libya or Syria or almost any other country you care to mention), we have to go beyond saying “rubbish” or “greenwash” and a) constructively engage and/or b) do things that have a realistic likelihood of building a growing, learning, organising and winning social movement to make the kind of world we want (and need!!) more likely. The two paths may occasionally be in tension, but I do not believe they are mutually exclusive.

      If you are doing these things (and maybe you are – I am happy to be corrected) – then why not tell us about them in MCFly?

  2. From what I know this is a positive step and the kind of thing we need to hold the council to account though I am happy to be corrected if wrong!

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